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British Protesters Add Their Voices to Anti-War Movement - 2003-02-15


Nearly a million demonstrators took the streets of London to protest a possible war against Iraq.

It was people power on a huge scale, the largest anti-war demonstration ever staged in London. The protesters came from diverse backgrounds and aged from youngsters to senior citizens.

The general theme among those in the crowd was a unified message to British Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.S. President George W. Bush to back away from any military option. "We do not want a war. We do not want any killing," said one demonstrator. "It is just time that we went out there and said no. We do not agree with you and we are going to make a stand," added another.

The demonstrators do not like Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, but they hate the idea of a war and its untold consequences and impact on the civilian Iraqi population.

Among those taking part were many children like Mimi Byegrave, 10, who showed with a group of her school friends. "I definitely do not want there to be a war and I am here just to try and make some impression on the people," she said.

One of the key speakers at the Hyde Park rally was the American peace campaigner, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, who singled out praise for the youngsters who marched on the cold wintry day in Britain. "Thank you for putting your bodies on the path of the war machine, especially young people," he said. "Young people, get involved. This is your world."

The mood in the crowd was that the tide was starting to turn in their direction, and many pledged to march again - in even greater numbers - if war does come to Iraq.

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