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Takin' it to the Streets--UPDATED | The Nation

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Peter Rothberg

Peter Rothberg

Opposing war, racism, sexism, climate change, economic injustice and high-stakes testing.

Takin' it to the Streets--UPDATED

In an unprecedented show of international solidarity, millions of people around the world turned out today to protest the Bush Administration's plans to invade Iraq.

It was a day of history-making in London, where 1 million people made the demo the largest protest in the history of the British capital. Turnout was boosted by British Prime Minister Tony Blair's ready enlistment in Bush's "coalition of the willing" against Iraq. Click here to hear audio of the day's speeches, songs and activities.

New York City saw its largest protest since the historic June 12, 1982 antinuclear rally in Central Park. And if today had been as warm as that June day was, who knows how many more people would've swelled the ranks of the estimated 300,000 who came out, braving windchill temperatures of four degrees.

The huge crowd, prohibited by court order from marching, did just that within sight of the United Nations amid heavy security. "The World Says No to War," proclaimed a huge banner draped over a stage on First Avenue near 51st Street, the focal point of a vast crowd that packed First Avenue from 49th to 72nd Streets and spilled over into the side streets and to Second, Third and Lexington Avenues, where thousands more were cordoned off behind police barricades. You can listen to the entire event thanks to WBAI . And click here to see what some of the protesters came to NYC to say.

There was another huge turnout in Rome, with a crowd said to number more than 1 million, many displaying rainbow peace flags and anti-Berlusconi/Bush signs. The march in the capital of another of Bush's staunch allies, Melbourne, Australia, drew 200,000 people, which was particularly impressive considering that the entire country only has a population of 20 million total. In Germany, 400,000-500,000 people marched through Berlin, backing the country's strong antiwar stance spearheaded by Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. The Greeks came out in force, with 80,000 packing Syntagma Square in the heart of downtown Athens, and another 10,000 marching in the ancient port-city of Thessaloniki.

In Barcelona, Spanish police estimated that up to 1.3 million people marched in support of peace, with around 200,000 marching in Seville and more than 600,000 in Madrid. Hundreds of thousands marched in Paris, shouting slogans against the war and George W. Bush. Some of those in the first rows of the march were recognizeable figures from the right-wing nationalist leader Jean-Marie Le Pen to the global justice movement's hero Jose Bove.

Police estimated that 100,000 people turned out in Dublin, Ireland, 60,000 in Oslo, Norway, 50,000 in bitter cold Brussels, 35,000 in frigid Stockholm, 25,000 in Copenhagen and Amsterdam, 20,000 in Vancouver, Canada and Sao Paulo, Brazil, 5,000 in Capetown, 4,000 in Johannesburg in South Africa, 5,000 in Tokyo, 3,000 in Vienna, 2,000 each in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Sofia, Bulgaria and Tel Aviv, 600 in downtown Hong Kong and 50 in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Click here for a more thorough roundup of international events.

And, if you're on the west coast of the US, you still have your march to go to tomorrow, February 16, in San Francisco.

It's unclear how the Bush Administration will react to this latest unmistakable show of opposition to war. But the antiwar movement has momentum. There's the upcoming National Student Strike Against the War as well as a host of women's antiwar actions sponsored by Code Pink.

Stay tuned to United for Peace and Justice's site for details onthese and other antiwar organizing efforts.

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