It was a site to warm the hearts of those opposed to war in Iraq the world over: On a wintry London afternoon, a dense, banner-waving, chanting, mass of marchers was so large that it took more than four hours to cover the three-mile route through the city center. By the end of the afternoon, police said that more than 750,000 people—organizers put the figure at more than two million—had come together in Hyde Park to demonstrate against the prospect of military action against Iraq. “It was just amazing to see so many people of so many different types, backgrounds and religions,” said student Siobhan Ainger, leaving the park as dusk fell.
Meanwhile CNN (really!) reports:
In New York, a giant puppet depicting President Bush holding buckets of blood and oil towered over the cheering crowd that was pressed against police barricades near U.N. headquarters. The main demonstration stretched for 24 blocks down First Avenue — overflowing onto Second and Third avenues as more people tried to reach the rally.
And (quoting Newsweek again):
Organizers claimed Rome’s protest numbered 3 million people; crowds in Berlin were estimated at 300,000 to 500,000 and reports in Damascus, Syria were of 200,000 people. In other cities, numbers were substantially smaller: some 10,000 people showed in Amsterdam; several thousand reportedly gathered in Athens, Capetown, Tokyo and Canberra, Australia. In Bangladesh, Bangkok, and Kiev, there were reports of 2,000 people; in Moscow and Hong Kong, only a few hundred. In Mostar, Bosnia, 100 Muslims and Croats gathered together in what was said to be the first joint action between the groups in seven years.
And it isn’t the just the mainstream media reporting this — the politicians are changing their tune, with Blair suddenly backing the UN and inspections.
We were in NY today and I’d say it was half-a-million people. That’s just based on the fact that there was a huge mass of people stretching for more than a mile, and more people arriving when we got cold and left at 2:20.