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World Reaction to the War's Start - 2003-03-21

There is strong reaction across the globe to the launch of Operation Iraqi Freedom. As Robert Raffaele reports, despite some support for the U.S.-led war, opponents are making their voices heard.

In Australia, anti-war demonstrators blocked traffic in the streets of Melbourne. At least one protestor felt peace efforts were not given enough time.

“I think diplomatically we could maybe let it go a bit more, but I think to be honest, they’ve been planning to, and I’m a bit saddened by it, I’m really sad.”

In Tokyo, as police carried away protestors from in front of the U.S. embassy, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said he supported the start of the war.

He said Iraq, in his words, mocked the United Nations, and did not take its warnings seriously.

In Manila, riot police were on hand as demonstrators voiced anti-American sentiments. At a graduation ceremony, however, Philippine President Gloria Arroyo said her country was giving its ‘moral and political support’ behind efforts to rid Iraq of weapons of mass destruction.

In New York City, Iraq’s ambassador to the United Nations, Mohammed Al-Douri, said he plans to ask the UN to intervene to stop the war. Secretary General Kofi Annan says his thoughts are with the Iraqi people.

“The UN for its part, will do whatever it can to bring them assistance and support. Let us hope the future will be much brighter for the Iraqi people, than their recent past, and that they will soon have the chance to rebuild their country in peace and freedom, under the rule of law.”

In a televised speech, French President Jacques Chirac, one of the strongest opponents of the U.S. use of force, said he regretted that war was launched without UN approval. He said he hoped the war would end with as few casualties as possible.