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Poll, Protests Worldwide Show Strong Opposition to Iraq War

Protests held in cities all over the world, including New York City, London, Rome, Barcelona, and Madrid, demonstrated broad and widespread opposition to the potential US war against Iraq. In addition, a recent Gallup poll shows a large gender gap in opposition to war in the US, with 31 percent of women versus 15 percent of men saying they do not want the US to send troops to Iraq at all. In addition, 37 percent of women believe troops should be sent with United Nations (UN) support, while 52 percent of men think troops should be sent even if the UN votes against military action in Iraq, according to Gallup.

Protest organizers estimate that attendance in New York this weekend was almost half a million, with over 10 million people participating in protests worldwide, though police estimates were lower. National Organization for Women president Kim Gandy, one of the speakers in New York, said in a press statement that “the real terrorism is the Bush administration’s disregard for international law and destruction of civil liberties at home. This has become an issue of one dictator versus another.”

Despite the massive protests, President Bush said yesterday that he will continue his push to force Iraq to disarm, by force if necessary. Bush is calling for a second United Nations resolution stating that Iraq has refused to disarm and now faces “serious consequences,” according to the New York Times. France’s president Jacques Chirac has already made it clear that France will oppose the resolution, which has also received criticism by Germany’s chancellor Gerhard Schroder, the Times reports. Britain’s prime minister Tony Blair has come under immense criticism for his pro-war stance. The antiwar rally in London was the largest political rally in Britain’s history, according to the Washington Post.

Events planned for International Women’s Day on Saturday, March 8, will draw antiwar activists to Washington, DC, in a “march to encircle the White House,” according to Code Pink, a women’s peace group. Code Pink, along with UnReasonable Women for the Earth and United for Peace, has also been coordinating the Women’s Peace Vigil, a constant presence in front of the White House that will end with the rally and march on International Women’s Day. Members of Code Pink traveled to Iraq on a peace mission in early February, joining other women’s groups from Europe, Australia, and Rwanda to protest US military action against Iraq.

The Feminist Majority joins the Code Pink, National Organization for Women, and other progressive groups in urging our elected officials to employ diplomacy to the fullest extent and oppose war with Iraq.

TAKE ACTION Find out more about the International Women’s Day March to Encircle to White House

Media Resources: New York Times 2/19/03; Washington Post 2/19/03; Gallup; The Nation 3/3/03; Code Pink; United for Peace, NOW press release 2/14/03

© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

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