Turkey: Torches for peace

Students, professors and workers lit torches symbolizing the light of life and peace at universities around the country on March 3, in an action organized by the Communist Party of Turkey. The torches were lit as symbolic protests against the Bush administration’s war ambitions, just two days after the Turkish parliament had rejected a measure for Turkey’s participation in a war against Iraq.

At Istanbul’s Bogazici University and at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, communist students guarded the torch throughout the night, symbolizing the guarding of the “continuous and undying” struggle for peace. Among other universities participating were the 19th of May University in Samsun, Ankara University and Hacettepe University. The students declared that the torches will burn until it is declared that Turkey will not go to war, and that U.S. troops will not be stationed on Turkish territory.

Australia: 30,000 students strike vs. war

Early estimates show over 30,000 students from around the country participated in anti-war actions on March 5. In Sydney 10,000, in Adelaide and Melbourne 7,000 each, and even in remote northern Darwin, 40 came out to protest the threat of war against Iraq.

In Sydney, Reuters said, high school students brought lunchtime traffic to a halt in the central business district. Last month some 200,000 Australians rallied in Sydney – the biggest protest in the country since the Vietnam War.

The student march, involving youth from about 10 to 17, brought protesters from both private and government-funded schools. Muslim girls with peace symbols drawn on their hijab headscarves rallied with girls in black plastic Gothic outfits, Britney Spears look alikes and boys on skateboards.

One of the wittiest banners read: “I jigged (skipped) history because it was repeating itself” and was accompanied by a picture of an atomic bomb mushroom cloud.

Bangladesh: Thousands march vs. war

Thousands demonstrated in the streets of the capital city, Dhaka, March 5 to protest against the drive for war against Iraq and other countries under the leadership of the Bush administration.

People from all sections of society and many different political orientations gathered at the Shahid Minar – the foot of the national monument dedicated to the martyrs of the language movement of 1952, which ultimately led to the 1971 independence struggle.

Workers, peasants, students and other youth, intellectuals, cultural workers, women’s and children’s organizations, and residents of the city’s poorest sections joined with trade unions, political parties including the Communist Party and the 11 Party Left Democratic Front and others brought colorful flags and banners.

“We want just peace for all peoples of the world including our own people,” said the Declaration read at the demonstration.

Greece: 112 MPs demand their country stay out

One hundred twelve of the Greek Parliament’s 300 members have signed an appeal for peace to be presented to the United Nations. The legislators, coming from all political parties, declared that Greece should not participate directly or indirectly, with personnel or any means, in a war against Iraq. The war can and must be averted, they said, because “a drop of a child’s blood cannot be counterweighted even by a thousand barrels of oil.” Besides the UN, the appeal will be presented to the European Parliament and the parliaments of the other European countries.

Meanwhile, the Greek Committee for Peace and Detente is calling for mobilizations under the slogans, “We can stop them” and “Greece out of the war,” throughout Greece on March 15, when the defense ministers of the European Union are meeting.

Unions affiliated with federations and labor centers all over Greece will strike for 24 hours on March 21. Unions in the oil industry have called on their national federation to mobilize against supplying oil to U.S. and NATO war forces.

International notes are compiled by Marilyn Bechtel, Communist Party USA
international secretary. She can bereached at cpusainternat@mindspring.com