Sep 22: Thousands Protest at Several Cities Around the World
Marchers Protest Against War
By Katie Nguyen and Brian Love
LIEGE, Belgium (Sept. 22) - About 1,000 protesters marched through the Belgian city of Liege under banners reading "Make Love, Not War" on Saturday as EU finance ministers discussed the September 11 assaults on the United States.
The organizers, a broad alliance of social rights groups and left-wing activists dubbed D14, headed towards the barricaded conference center where the ministers were meeting, saying they wanted to deliver a letter demanding peace and more social rights.
After the suicide plane attacks that left some 6,800 people dead or missing in New York and Washington, and European Union leaders' pledge of support for a U.S. riposte, the militants coupled calls for more jobs and democracy in Europe with an anti-war message.
"Today the first principle is to be anti-war and refuse to participate in U.S. action," D14 militant George Robert said.
"We think military action can only end in more deaths," another D14 activist, Raoul Hebebouw, told Reuters. "We want Europe to pull out of NATO."
A police spokeswoman said several people bound for Liege were taken off a train on the way from Antwerp and held for identity checks.
She gave no other details but one protester who said he was on the train reported that police arrested four people and confiscated banners and a couple of pocket knives.
The organizers had hoped as many as 3,000 people would join the march from a town hall square to the conference center on an island in the middle of the river Meuse that runs through Liege.
Police had kept a low profile on Friday when some 11,000 people from trade unions and mainstream non-governmental groups braved pouring rain to stage a peaceful, carnival-style rally and took a similar tack at the outset in Liege on Saturday.
"On our side it will be peaceful," said Hebebouw. "I don't know about the police...It's important to emphasize peace."
Saturday's protest, gathering anti-capitalists, students, communists, environmentalists and anarchist flag-wavers, has been shunned by the trade unions and NGOs that marched on Friday, but many of their demands are the same.
It was not clear if marchers would challenge the security cordon of riot police, barbed wire fences and heavy metal containers set up to protect the conference center.
Belgian Finance Minister Didier Reynders, who chaired the EU talks, said ministers would discuss issues close to the hearts of a movement which has blossomed across the world in recent years to protest at the impact of economic globalization.
TENSION AMONG POLICE
Police sources -- edgy after chaotic anti-globalization protests at European Union and Group of Eight summits in Gothenburg and Genoa in recent months -- said earlier this week there was some risk of violence on Saturday.
Finance ministers were holding a second day of talks on the fallout of the U.S. attacks for the EU economy and budgets, and on aid for airlines suffering from a sharp drop in business and rocketing war insurance costs. Stock markets tumbled by four or five percent across Europe on Friday.
They were also to discuss the Tobin Tax on currency trading -- a concept being pushed hard by groups such as the French-based Attac group and War on Want -- although Reynders told a news conference it was just one of many ideas.
"We won't be taking part in today's marches but we do share some of the issues...," War on Want campaigner Steve Tibbett told Reuters. "We want to see action on global poverty and the Tobin Tax, not just words."
German Finance Minister Hans Eichel appeared to shoot down the Tobin tax. "The majority of finance ministers believe the Tobin tax is not useful," he said.
Anti-War Protesters Gather in Britain
.c The Associated Press
LONDON (Sept. 22) - Thousands of protesters staged a series of rallies throughout Britain Saturday to voice opposition to military action against Afghanistan.
In London, police said approximately 3,000 people had gathered in the city center close to the official Downing Street residence of Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Many of the protesters wore black and carried pieces of paper reading: ''Stand shoulder to shoulder for peace and justice. No more violence.''
The silent vigils - organized by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament - were mirrored in Manchester, 160 miles north of London, and also in Glasgow, Scotland.
''Any military strike is going to kill yet more civilians who don't deserve to die, in the same way as the Americans didn't deserve to die,'' said Carol Naughton, a spokeswoman for the group, in London.
''It will only create a spiral of violence, and it will create a huge uprising against the U.S., and possibly, Britain.''
It is estimated that between 200 and 300 British nationals were killed in the attacks on the World Trade Center. Blair has said Britain is allied with President Bush, and fully backs America's war against terrorism - having undertaken a 9,000-mile, 48-hour diplomatic mission to four countries to strengthen support for military action against those responsible for the Sept. 11 suicide hijackings.
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, however, called on Western powers Saturday not to launch a military attack against Osama bin Laden, the terrorist leader thought to be behind the atrocities in New York and Washington, saying it would only lead to more bloodshed.
In Manchester, around 300 people marched through the city and gathered for speeches.
In Glasgow, the protest by approximately 1,000 people began with a minute's silence in memory of those who lost their lives in the attacks.
Police in all three cities said the protests had been peaceful and that no arrests were made.
European Union leaders declared their ''total solidarity'' with the United States during a special summit in Brussels Friday. They agreed to a package of measures designed to combat international terrorism and pledged support for a strike against those directly responsible for the tragedies.
Civic groups rally against US retaliation for terror attacks
.c Kyodo News Service
NAHA, Japan, Sept. 22 (Kyodo) - Civic groups in Okinawa Prefecture, home to the bulk of U.S. military forces in Japan, staged a demonstration Saturday in the prefectural capital of Naha to protest against expected U.S. military action in retaliation for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.
About 100 people representing 33 civic groups marched through the city, yelling, ''The U.S. should stop retaliatory war.''
They also shouted, ''We cannot win peace by war,'' and ''The Self-Defense Forces should not send troops overseas.''
Several foreigners, including Americans, took part in the march, distributing pamphlets in English saying they believe a retaliatory war against terrorism is a big mistake.
The groups also staged a 30-hour sit-in at a square in front of the Okinawa prefectural government building from noon Friday to protest the expected military strikes against those connected with the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon which left more than 6,300 people dead or missing.
Thousands rally for peace in Germany cities
BERLIN, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Several thousand demonstrators took to the streets of Berlin and other German cities on Saturday shouting "No Third World War" and urging the United States not to answer attacks on its cities with more violence.
Carrying banners reading "Enough deaths" and "No retaliation," the demonstrators gathered outside the Berlin city hall. Police said a few thousand were on the streets. Smaller protests were also held in Cologne, Bremen and Kassel.
The United States is widely expected to retaliate against Afghanistan, which is host to the Saudi-born militant Osama bin Laden, Washington's chief suspect in the attacks on U.S. landmarks which left more than 6,800 dead or missing.
"We are here because we are worried about the reaction of the United States. The attacks cannot be justified but we need to think about what the real causes were," said one demonstrator, carrying his daughter on his shoulders.
At a smaller protest of Afghanis in Berlin and their supporters, protesters waved banners reading "Please don't answer violence with violence" and "No bombs on Afghanistan."
Memories of Germany's World War Two destruction have fuelled a strong pacifist movement in the country, although a poll due to be released on Sunday indicated 58 percent of those surveyed supported German participation in U.S. military retaliation.
However, the survey, due for publication in the weekly Der Spiegel on Sunday, also indicated that 72 percent of Germans feared that a military response to the attacks could escalate into war.
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