Almost one million people gathered to march through London today (February 15), police have said, in an unprecedented protest against war in Iraq – with Damon Albarn and Massive Attack’s 3-D amongst the leaders.
While march organisers have put the figure for those taking part closer to 2million, the official number still marks the event as the biggest of its kind in the history of Britain.
Protestors gathered in London by the Thames from early this morning. One commentator described seeing a “sea of people” snaking along Embankment on the way to a meeting point in Hyde Park.
The Hyde Park rally was addressed by, amongst others, US civil right’s leader Rev Jesse Jackson, long-standing Parliamentarian Tony Benn, playwright Harold Pinter and MP Mo Mowlam. Radio 1 figurehead John Peel and veteran protest singer Billy Bragg were also amongst the crowd.
The biggest reaction was for Ms Dynamite who demanded of Tony Blair: “How long will you lie and deceive this country and speak so many words but very few truths?”
She continued: “Don’t underestimate or insult our intelligence. Let the truth be told. I believe war is not the answer. He who preaches war is the devil’s chaplain, he is tarnished by the beast.”
Other similar rallies were held throughout the world today. Tens of thousands gathered in Glasgow where Prime Minister Tony Blair was addressing the New Labour Spring conference. Millions of people also made their opposition to and Iraqi invasion known in New York, Berlin, Athens, Rome, Paris and other major European cities.