The demonstration against the war called by the CND on Saturday 13 October in London was much bigger than expected. According to the police there were about 20,000 demonstrators on the march, but this is a gross underestimation. The organisers claimed around 50,000 participated. When the head of the demonstration had reached Trafalgar Square (about three miles away) the tail of the march had not yet left Hyde Park. In fact 2 hours after the first demonstrators had arrived in Trafalgar Square, there were still people arriving who could not get into the square. At one point the police stopped the demonstration, as it was obvious that not all the marchers would fit into the square. The number of marchers was therefore 40,000 or more. Certainly it was much bigger than anything we saw during the war in Yugoslavia a couple of years ago.
This is an important difference compared to the past. Just one week into the bombing of Afghanistan and already the anti-war movement has picked up a sizeable momentum. As the real meaning of this war becomes clearer the movement is bound to grow and pick up more support.
Some news reports internationally have tried to belittle the size of the demonstration (such as in Belgium) or have tried to ridicule it (El Pais in Spain). Others have limited themselves to reporting the official police figures. In Britain the TV reports could not ignore the demonstration and every channel had to report on it as a main item of news. Some however did try to distort the nature of the demonstration. Anyone watching Channel Four news would have thought that the demonstration was composed almost solely of Muslims. They only interviewed Muslims and only showed footage of speakers at the rally in Trafalgar Square who were dressed in classic Islamic dress.
They would like to give the idea that in Britain the majority are in favour of the war and that those who oppose it are either Muslims or a few eccentrics. It would be surprising in fact if there had not been any British Muslims on the demonstration. According to the police these numbered about 4,000. But the overwhelming majority of those taking part were young people (black, white, Asian