The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Anti-war protests in Great Britain

Dec 1, 2003

The demonstration organized against Bush's visit to London on Thursday November 20 was really a notable success, with 100,000 participants according to the police and 200,000 according to its organizers. These figures were especially significant given that the demonstration took place in the middle of the day when people were working.

Contrary to the image given by the media, the highpoint of this demo was not pulling down the statue of Bush erected in the middle of Trafalgar Square (to imitate pulling down the statue of Hussein after the U.S. troops entered Baghdad). The most striking aspect was that three hours after the march got under way, it was joined by large numbers of workers coming from their work places to join in the ranks of the demonstrators. Their numbers were really impressive at the back of the procession, especially since people came in their uniforms. The postal workers, rail workers, construction workers appeared much more obvious than those in previous demonstrations on Iraq, which were dominated by the middle class.

But it is necessary to say that the organizers of this demonstration took care to make it a protest against Bush's visit and not against the policies of Blair. The official signs of the marchers made no demand for a break with Blair's Labor Party – although slogans on signs made spontaneously by demonstrators did.

In any case, the demonstration was significant, clearly reflecting the very sizeable majority of the British population that wants Britain out of the war on Iraq.