Mac 17, 2008

World Against War

Hundreds of people gathered in Glasgow City Centre yesterday to show their commitment to peace keeping efforts in the Middle East. They were marching, singing and shouting in protest of the illegal Iraq / Afghan wars that were first instigated by Bush and Blair several years ago when they sent their troops to Iraq and Afghanistan.

“No#1 Terrorist!” Many posters depicted images of the American president.

As the crowd began to move away from the meeting point, I quickly grabbed a poster and joined them.

“What do we want?” Shouted a woman who was leading the march,

“Get the troops out!” The crowd chorused back.

“When do we want it?” The leader took her turn.

“Now!” Yelled the protesters.

Moving forward with energy and spirit, the enthusiastic mass continued to chant,

“Troops out the Middle East

“No justice! No peace!”

“George Bush! Terrorist!”

The protesters marched from Blythswood Square, through the streets of Glasgow, across the River Clyde and back over the bridge to Glasgow Green where a group of drummers called Sheboom welcomed the crowd with their pounding beat.

Then the speeches took place on the stage at Glasgow Green. Several speakers waited patiently to deliver their speech on that cold afternoon. I couldn’t remember their names or which organisations they represented because numerous organisations were involved and moreover, I am not familiar with UK organisations, political figures or even political parties. They all got the opportunity to give their anti-war messages.

As the day was getting colder, the crowd began to disperse but I waited around a little longer because a ska band named Esperanza were scheduled to perform. The band played well to a diminishing crowd who danced enthusiastically in front of the stage as I took pictures.

The thing is, the demonstration went smoothly without anyone being beaten or arrested. No one was sprayed with the water canon. No injuries.

It takes my mind flying back to Kuala Lumpur where the protesters without fail are beaten with heavy batons by anti riot squads, dispersed with water jetting out from water canons, forced to flee tear gas and often arrested. Gatherings cannot he held peacefully without being hijacked by police and being labelled “Perhimpunan Haram” (illegal gathering) by the media and corrupt, arrogant politicians ………..

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