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Anti-War Protesters Take to Streets of Europe - 2003-01-18

Around the world, the anti-war movement stepped up a gear Saturday with demonstrations in dozens of cities against any possible U.S.-led military attack against Iraq.

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in a quiet reflective mood in London's Trafalgar and Parliament square to protest against what many of them fear may be inevitable, a war against Iraq.

The same sentiments were expressed around the country in similar demonstrations staged in places like Liverpool and Birmingham.

In Bradford, the peace march there was organized by Carol Naughton from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. She believes the anti-war movement is now starting to take hold.

"People from right across the community are here today and we are all standing together," she said. "We are all saying the same thing. No. War against Iraq is wrong. It is immoral. It is illegal. Yes, we want to get rid of weapons of mass destruction, but killing the people of Iraq is not the way to do it."

Over on the continent, many more demonstrations were held. In Paris, 6,000 showed up. Their message: find a peaceful solution to the Iraqi crisis.

In Moscow, protesters chanted, "hands off Iraq" outside the U.S. Embassy. Similar messages were echoed in Sweden and Germany. In Shannon, Ireland more than a 1,000 showed up to voice their concerns that the airport there might become a refueling point for American military planes if war does break out.

Former veteran British politician Tony Benn told a small group of demonstrators in London the net result of a war may be that more people might be driven to join organizations like al-Qaida and the toll of innocent Iraqi civilian lives lost could number in the hundreds of thousands if a military attack is ordered.

The next major rally in London is scheduled for February 15.