20 March, 2005, 00:22 GMT
Worldwide protests mark Iraq war

Protests have been taking place across the world marking two years since the start of the war in Iraq.

Thousands turned out in Japan and Australia to complain about their countries’ involvement in Iraq.

Protest marches took place around Europe and similar events occurred in cities across the US.

In a radio address, US President George W Bush defended the war, saying it took place “to disarm a brutal regime, free its people, and defend the world”.

More than 4,500 people marched in Tokyo during a visit by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

“The Self-Defence Force [Japan’s military] should withdraw from Iraq immediately… and the occupation of Iraq should be stopped,” said Ken Takada, a member of civic group World Peace Now.

I think it’s outrageous what Blair and Bush think they can get away with John Salway Protester, London

In pictures: Iraq protests

Japan has about 550 troops in southern Iraq in a non-combat role.

In Canberra and other Australian cities, protesters marched against what they called the “coalition of the killing”.

Australia recently announced the deployment of a further 450 soldiers to Iraq.

In Greece, unions and left-wing groups organised marches on the streets of Athens.

An organiser said 5,000 people took part, while police put the figure at 2,000.

“Bush, the number one terrorist,” said leaflets being passed out to marchers.


One of the biggest marches of the day was in London.

Anti-war protester in Pakistan Protests also took place in Pakistan

Organisers say 100,000 people took part, while police put the figure at 45,000.

Two former British soldiers left a cardboard coffin outside the US embassy, inscribed with the words: “100,000 dead”.

“I think it’s outrageous what Blair and Bush think they can get away with,” said John Salway, 59.

While some said they wanted British and US forces to withdraw from Iraq, others disagreed.

“We got the Iraqis into this mess, we need to help them out of it,” said Kit MacLean, 29.

The UK has about 8,000 troops in Iraq.

In Istanbul, Turkey, an estimated 15,000 people marched against the war, while in Stockholm, Sweden, about 300 people turned out to display their anger.

Anti-war protesters in New York There are around 150,000 US troops in Iraq

Thousands also took to the streets in several US cities. Some of them bore coffins draped with the country’s flag.

But correspondents say the US demonstrations were far smaller than previous protests against the war.

“I think Bush’s re-election took the steam out of the anti-war movement,” said New York activist Michael Letwin.

Demonstrators also gathered in San Francisco, Chicago and other cities to hear anti-war speeches.

The US has around 150,000 troops in Iraq.


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