Antiwar rally in Sydney

Assemble 12.30 Belmore Park: other Australian protests

"Rarely has war been launched from such shaky ground. Rarely have a war's proponents been so blind, so wrong and in such a rush."

"'There's no 'automaticity' and this is a two-stage process, and in that regard we have met the principal concerns that have been expressed for the resolution,' US Ambassador John D. Negroponte said. 'Whatever violation there is, or is judged to exist, will be dealt with in the council, and the council will have an opportunity to consider the matter before any other action is taken.' The compromise reassured diplomats who have suspected that despite engaging in negotiations at the United Nations, the US will ultimately attack Iraq with or without the sanction of the Security Council." 

- LA Times, 8 November 2002

"... the pretence that the US and Britain are acting legally in circumventing the UN is preposterous. Resolution 1441, upon which their case mainly rests, invoked, embraced and superseded all previous Iraq-related resolutions. It specifically did not authorise the use of military force. If it had, it simply would not have been passed. Mr Blair and Mr Bush also risk breaching the UN charter, as Kofi Annan notes. They have no legal mandate to attack, let alone a mandate for regime change and an indefinite occupation. Rarely has war been launched from such shaky ground. Rarely have a war's proponents been so blind, so wrong and in such a rush. 
- The Guardian, 17 March 2003

GIANT RALLY IN SYDNEY THIS SUNDAY 23rd MARCH

Assemble at 12:30 in Belmore Park (next to central station). We will march via Elizabeth St to the Domain, where there will be speakers. Come early as trains will be crowded, bring water and sunscreen. Contact the coalition for leaflets and to register for train station leafleting on (02) 9267 8122. More details will be posted as they come to hand. Contact: Walk Against the War Coalition: Phone: (02)9386 1240; 0418 668 098; 0409 762 081. Email: nswpeace@hotmail.com.

There will also be a peace vigil at Sydney Town Hall at 5pm till 6pm on Wednesday 19th, Thursday 20th and Friday 21st March. Leaflets and posters will be available.

And when war breaks out ...

Sydney

City: Rally on the day (whether it is a weekday or weekend)at 5pm at Sydney Town Hall (go via St James Station or Wynard if possible: if the Town Hall station is overcrowded it may be closed). Phone: (02)9386 1240; 0418 668 098; 0409 762 081. Email: nswpeace@hotmail.com.

Penrith: 5pm outside Jackie Kelly's office Woodriff St Penrith. Phone: 0401 769 880.

Manly: rally 5pm the Corso.

Regional NSW

Armidale: 5.30pm, in front of the Court House.

Central Coast: Rally on the day from 4pm onwards at th Terrigal Skillion, central coast people for peace.

Coffs Harbour: Next working day after war begins: 5.30pm Coffs Harbour Mall to walk to Luke Hartsuyker's office.

Lismore: 5pm, Spinks Park, Molesworth Street. Phone: (02) 6622 2862.

Nowra: There will be a rally in Harry Sawkins Park, Nowra the day after the war starts, at 5pm (probably)...details to be confirmed (email degabriele@shoal.net.au to confirm).

Newcastle: 5.30pm, Civic Park. Phone: 0408 443 013, (02)4945 0002.

Port Macquarie: Hastings area, Assemble at Port Macquarie Town Green at 5pm on the day that war is announced.

Taree: Assembly at Taree City Council in Pulteney Street at 4.30pm with candles - walk the streets of Taree CBD and end up at the front of Mark Vailes office in Victoria Street.

Wollongong: 5.30pm on the day after the bombing starts, Wollongong Mall Amphitheatre. Phone: (02)4226 2010.

Around Australia

Adelaide: 5pm, Parliament House steps. Phone: 0414 773 918.

Ballarat: 5pm, Town Hall steps.

Brisbane: 5pm, King George Square. Also noon on the following Saturday at the same place. Stop the War Coalition. Phone (07) 3716 0848, 3831 2644.

Canberra: noon speakout at Garema Place, Civic. 5pm, rally at the US embassy, Moonah Place, Yarralumla. Also rally at noon the following day, Garema Place, Civic. ACT Network Opposing War. Phone: (02)6247 2424; 0417 269 984; 0415 752 013.

Darwin: 5.30pm, Raintree Park, Smith Street Mall. Phone: (08)8981 4714.

Geelong: 5pm, Market Square. Phone: (03)5222 6900.

Hobart: 4.30pm, Franklin Square, Macquarie St. Endorsed by the Peace Coalition. Phone: (03)234 9553; 6234 6397; 0438 691 125.

Launceston: 5pm, outside Museum, Wellington St (next to Paterson St TAFE), city. Ph: (03)6327 1751.

Melbourne: 5pm, State Library. Youth Against War rally, meet 4.30pm Federation Square & march to State Library. Day after war starts: Unionists rally 12pm at Trades Hall. Phone: (03)9659 3582.

Perth: 5pm, GPO, Forrest Place. NOWAR Alliance. Phone: (08)9218 9608; 9477 6301.

Rockhampton: 5pm, Col Brown Park, Victoria Parade, South Rockhampton. Ph: 0419 029 168 or (07)4927 7726.

International union stance

Australia's union action has been joined by a historic decision by the executive council of the US AFL-CIO, which has passed a resolution opposing war with Iraq "at this time" and arguing against unilateral US action. The resolution says the United States has squandered much of the international goodwill and unity it received following September 11, 2001, and asserted that the best way to disarm Iraq is with a broad international coalition and with the support of the United Nations.

"There may be times when we must stand alone and act unilaterally in defence of our national security," the resolution said. "But the threat posed by Saddam Hussein deserves multilateral resolve, not unilateral action. The president has not fulfilled his responsibility to make a compelling and coherent explanation to the American people and the world as to the need for military action against Iraq at this time."

The memorandum submitted at the same meeting as the draft resolution seeks to extend inspections and beef up inspectors' staff, equipment and surveillance capabilities. It says war "should only be a last resort."

The AFL-CIO executive council, which represents about 13 million union members, passed its resolution at the end of its winter meeting in Hollywood, Florida. Bob Muehlenkamp, co-ordinator of the antiwar coalition US Labor Against the War, called the resolution historic and said it was the first time "top leadership of the labour movement has opposed a US president's war policy." Muehlenkamp said the AFL-CIO's move would encourage union members to expand their antiwar efforts. Muehlenkamp's group has called for a "Labour Day for Peace" on March 12, with antiwar activities planned at work sites around the country.

The resolution notes that the AFL-CIO "has a particularly strong interest in the escalating conflict with Iraq" because those in the military are "the men and women of America's working families."

Globally, over 200 unions and 550 union leaders from 53 countries representing 130 million workers have signed the International Labour Declaration circulated by USLAW. Workers of the world have spoken with a single voice, demanding that the US abandon its militaristic threats of illegal aggression against Iraq. They have said in unison, "Give peace a chance!"

This is the first time in history that the world's labour movements have come together to speak with a single voice on an issue of urgent international concern. On Wednesday, February 19, USLAW convened an unprecedented global telephone press conference to brief the media about the Declaration and its signatories.

Participating in that call were representatives of major labor federations and unions from Australia, the US, Mexico, Canada, Quebec, France, England, Tunisia, Pakistan, Brazil, and Italy. Each made a brief statement about their organisation's antiwar activities and expressed their solidarity with one another in building a global labour front against War in Iraq.

They reported on the massive participation of workers and unions in the February 15-16 demonstrations and promised continued waves of actions in their countries. Among the steps being taken or planned are convening meetings with the leaders of those countries who are supporting the war, national teach-ins at every school level in France, a call for a world-wide meeting of teachers' unions to oppose the war, the refusal of unions to transport war goods, work stoppages and other forms of workplace protests, and massive demonstrations at US embassies around the world if war breaks out. The unions agreed to continue to communicate and co-ordinate strategies and activities, as this effort represented just the first of many steps that will be taken together to demonstrate broad popular opposition to war. The press conference was broadcast in real time on the World Wide Web.

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