round up

Protests grow against war

"NATO intervention is producing an enormous political crisis in Greece"

PROTESTS AGAINST NATO's bombing are growing across the world. You would scarcely know from the mainstream media in Britain, which is trying to create the illusion that almost everyone supports the war. But in the last week 1,500 people marched in San Francisco against the bombing of the Balkans. Over 3,000 marched in Madrid on Sunday against NATO.

Protests are continuing in Germany, where the left wing movement against the war is threatening the survival of the "Red-Green" coalition government which has sent the airforce into combat for the first time since 1945. Polls show that over 50 percent of the population in Italy oppose the war. Protests continue outside the airbases NATO is using to launch its raids on Serbia and Kosovo. There is a mass groundswell against the war in Austria, which borders Balkan states.

NATO intervention in the Balkans is producing an enormous political crisis in Greece, where a clear majority oppose it. Every town has seen big protests, and a monster demonstration was called in Athens by trade unions for Thursday of this week. Hundreds of protesters tried to stop the Greek destroyer Themistocles putting to sea on Sunday. Eight sailors signed a statement declaring they would refuse to fight. Two of them did not board the ship and now face court martial.

ANTI-WAR protesters challenge chancellor Gordon Brown to a debate as he delivers a speech at the London School of Economics on Thursday of last week

The Labour type government of Costas Simitis is frightened the sailors might become a focus for the anti-war movement. Also last week protesters blockaded the main road out of the port of Salonika, which is a key landing point for NATO forces heading for Macedonia and Albania. They halted a French convoy for a period. Some right wing forces are trying to build on the revulsion at the war. They oppose the bombing of Serbia but want to see the Greek state back Milosevic in a new carve up of the Balkans. However, most of those on the protests are there because they want an end to war and nationalist tension in the region.

Protests are growing in Britain too, despite a media blackout. Around 2,000 peace protesters marched through central London. Stop the War meetings are taking place across the country. Over 400 people attended a Stop the War meeting in Manchester last week. Over 150 people came to a meeting in Sheffield, 130 in east London, 120 in Brighton, 45 in Preston and 45 in Burnley.

Meetings, debates and teach-ins are planned in colleges over the next ten days. About 70 people demonstrated in Huddersfield against the NATO bombing in the Balkans on Saturday of last week. Left wing Labour MP Alice Mahon sent a message of support, saying, "What started as a 'humanitarian war' has become a humanitarian disaster. "Many of us predicted that military action would result in the suffering we see on our television screens night after night—the suffering of civilians on both sides." About 35 protesters demonstrated outside Nato Fleet Headquarters in Northwood, north west of London, on Saturday of last week. Labour county councillor Maria Green addressed the demonstration.

Socialist Worker readers report that many of their workmates and friends who had been sceptical about the bombing swung into outright opposition after NATO bombed the refugee convoys last week.