Bulgaria Joins Antiwar Rallies Worldwide

Politics | February 16, 2003, Sunday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0
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Nearly 2000 people took part in antiwar rallies in Sofia and Bulgaria's second biggest town of Plovdiv, joining hundreds of thousands of antiwar protesters that gathered around the world to voice their opposition to a military conflict in Iraq.

This is the third time that Bulgarian pacifists from different organizations unite to protest over the looming US-led war. Following a rally staged by more than five-hundred people on January 22, a concert against the war was organized February 9.

Protesters in Sofia marched in a peaceful demonstration in the central area of Bulgaria's capital and staged the rally in front of the National Theatre Ivan Vazov, organized by "Civil Committee for Peace, against War". The committee consists of 30 organizations, including the Bulgarian Social-Democratic Party, the Bulgarian Communist Party "Georgi Dimitrov", the United Union of Pensioners. The protesters carried banners reading " Peace Yes, War No", "Peace by Negotiations", "Mothers Unite and Defend Peace", "Stop Unfair War", "Don't Kill Innocent People".

The participants in the rally adopted a protest declaration, which calls on the government of the United States to give up its decision to wage war against Iraq. War against Iraq will be a war against all other nations, causing serious economic shocks to affect Bulgaria's people as well, the declaration says.

Another one hundred citizens of Sliven protested against an eventual war in Iraq, carrying Bulgaria's national flag, antiwar banners. The protesters gathered at the Old elm-tree, a symbol of the fight against slavery, and laid flowers.

Demonstrations against a looming U.S.-led war on Iraq - staged first in the Asia-Pacific region - have been followed across Europe by large rallies in Berlin, London, Rome, Athens and Madrid.

Police put Berlin's turnout at upward of half-a-million. Rallies in London and Rome each drew 800,000 people opposed to backing shown by prime ministers Tony Blair and Silvio Berlusconi for the military stance of U.S. President George W. Bush.

Anti-war demonstrators packed the streets north of the United Nations headquarters, filling police-barricaded protest zones for more than 20 blocks as civil rights leaders and celebrities energized the banner-waving crowd. New York Police wouldn't provide a crowd estimate, but organizers had hoped to draw at least 100,000 people.

The weekend of protest had begun in Melbourne, Australia, and in New Zealand, followed by smaller protests in Tokyo, Seoul, Cape Town, Kuala Lumpur and Cairo.
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