Muslim News’s Report on the 28 September 2002 March
week after the farmers took London by storm, it was the turn of anti-war
protesters to lay siege to the city on Saturday when thousands of Britons
from across the country poured into the capital to denounce the Prime
Minister, Tony Blair's backing for U.S.-led military intervention in Iraq.
the turnout did not quite match the claims made by the organisers, there
was no mistaking the anger of the protesters as they marched past the
Westminster and Downing Street carrying banners which proclaimed: "Stop
War'', "Not in Our name'' and "Boycott Murder''.
roughly 5-km stretch from Embankment to Hyde Park was awash with demonstrators
who included leading political lights, film and media personalities, trade
unionists, religious figures and Gulf War veterans. The march, billed
as one of the biggest anti-war demonstrations seen in Europe in decades,
took nearly two hours to reach Hyde Park where protesters were addressed
by the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, the left-wing Labour leader,
Tony Benn, a former U.N. weapons' inspector, Scott Ritter, and a number
of ruling party MPs opposed to British military involvement in Iraq.
of Stop the War Coalition and the Muslim Association of UK, who jointly
organised the march, said the one-point message they intended to send
out to the world was that Mr. Blair's stance on Iraq did not reflect the
wishes of the ordinary people of Britain.
Blair is doing doesn't represent the wishes of the British people,'' Ken
Loach, one of Britain's leading film directors said. A prominent dissident
Labour MP, Jeremy Corbyn, was more assertive saying: "If Tony Blair
thinks he has got Parliament on his side, he has not. If he thinks he's
got the country on his side, he has not.''
pro-Iraqi party MP, George Galloway, warned that West Asia would erupt
into "molten lava'' if Iraq was attacked.
protesters said they had never attended a march before, but had decided
to "stand up and be counted'' on this occasion because they believed
Britain was being dragged into a war which "nobody but President
is not a Muslim show but a protest by ordinary, decent and peace-loving
Britons,'' one woman demonstrator said…