London’s Police Chief said it was the capital’s biggest ever demonstration with at least 750,000 taking part, while organisers put the figure closer to two million. Protesters also took to the streets in Glasgow, Belfast and a host of other cities across the Britain.
As protesters gathered in London Prime Minister Tony Blair warned of “bloody consequences” if Iraq was not confronted.
He did not “seek unpopularity as a badge of honour”, he said, “but sometimes it is the price of leadership and the cost of conviction”.
Shortly after he spoke, at around midday GMT, a tide of banner-waving protesters began surging through central London. Although it was probably the biggest demonstration London has seen police said there was no trouble and marchers were generally well behaved.
Elsewhere, demonstrations against a proposed war with Iraq occurred across the planet. In Paris, New York, Canberra, Melbourne, Seville, Marseille, Amsterdam, Brussels, Berlin, Vienna, Johannesburg, Kiev, Prague and numerous other cities and towns protestors marched against the possible war.
The protests that started Friday in Australia continued through the weekend with a massive Sunday demonstration of more than 100,000 people in Sydney. However Rome claimed the biggest turnout — 1 million according to police, while organizers claimed three times that figure.
Spanish police gauged the Madrid turnout at 660,000. Meanwhile in Berlin an estimated half a million protesters took to the streets while Paris saw 100,000 demonstrators.
Whatever happens now the events of the past few days have made it abundantly clear that world public opinion is very much against a war with Iraq. Nonetheless preparations for war showed no let up with both Britain and America continuing a steady build up of their forces around Iraq.