"All troops out of Iraq!"
The "superpower of the people" was in action around the world on March 20 against the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Demonstrations took place in all Australian capital cities. Around 500 people gathered in Adelaide on the steps of the South Australian Parliament House. Mike Khizam of NOWAR told the rally about Australia's role in advancing the interests of "the world's sole remaining superpower" before introducing the guest speakers. Ruth Russell spoke about her memories of the horror of the bombing and invasion of Iraq during the time she spent in that country as a human shield last year. She has been encouraged by the outrage of the people around world at the lies used to justify the war. Former Office of National Assessment (ONA) analyst Andrew Wilke commented on politicisation and intimidation in the intelligence agencies and the public service in general. He referred to the treatment last week of Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mike Keelty as an example of the pressures used by Howard and his cronies to have their political agenda backed up by nominally independent agencies. Five hundred marched through Perth streets recording their continued opposition to the war on Iraq. Their banners called for "All troops out of Iraq". Others declared for "Medicare not warfare". The banner on the platform called for "Regime Change at Home". Speakers condemned the war that was launched under cover of lies about weapons of mass destruction and allegations that Iraq was helping terrorism. Tens of thousands have died as a result. The spokesperson for Refugee Rights Action Network demanded the closure of the refugee camp. Scott Ludlam of the Fremantle Anti- Nuclear Group said the US Empire was based on a network of bases and that we must demand our government get rid of the US bases in Australia. Labor MLC Ruth Webber praised the Spanish people who used their votes to reject violence. In Melbourne around 3000 people rallied to hear speakers, including Terry Hicks, the father of Guantanamo Bay prisoner David Hicks In Sydney around 2000 people marched displaying John Howard as a war criminal. The action began with a vigil and collection for medical aid for Iraq at the Sydney Town Hall, followed by a community memorial service and a march and rally at Hyde Park. Speakers included John Pilger, Andrew Wilkie and Greens Senator Kerry Nettle.