March 19, 2006
Anti-American Protests "Fizzle" On War Anniversary
Update: See below.
A newspaper headline from years ago is such a marvel of oxymoronia, it is perfection:
Keep that headline in mind as you read about the massive, worldwide anti-war protests.
Today, March 19th, 2006, marks the third anniversary of the beginning of the liberation of Iraq. Not surprisingly, since the liberation was conducted by the United States, there were coordinated anti-war protests planned across the globe. Record high numbers of people flocked to major cities to protest against the Great Satan... well, not exactly....
In Sydney Australia, back in 2003, 250,000 protesters rallied against the war. Yesterday, a whopping 500 people showed up. Australia has 20 million people, so this is a turnout of 0.0025% of the population.
Around 500 protesters marched through central Sydney, chanting "End the war now" and "Troops out of Iraq." Many campaigners waved placards branding President Bush the "World's No. 1 Terrorist" or expressing concerns that Iran could be the next country to face invasion.
The Associated Press did not let the fizzly turnout dampen their enthusiasm:
Opposition to the war is still evident in Australia, which has some 1,300 troops in and around Iraq. Visiting Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was heckled by campaigners in Sydney this week, who said she had "blood on her hands."
(It's interesting to note that the total number of protesters in Australia was just over a third the number of troops they have in Iraq.)
Perhaps things looked better in London or Tokyo; let's take a peek:
Authorities shut down streets in the heart of London's shopping and theater district for the demonstration, which organizers had predicted would attract up to 100,000 people, but police estimated the crowd was about 15,000 people....
In Tokyo, about 2,000 people rallied in a downtown park, carrying signs saying "Stop the Occupation" as they listened to a series of anti-war speeches.
Great Britain saw a turnout of 0.02%; but Tokyo was truly galvanized, with nearly 0.0016% marching in the streets for World Peace Now!
Japan currenty deploys about 600 troops from the Self Defense Force to Iraq. Japanese polls show that a majority of Japanese still oppose the war; however, since the Iraq War and Japan's deployment began, the Japanese people have shifted very significantly in favor of changing their officially pacifist constitution to one that allows Japan to maintain a regular standing army. Largely due to the precedent set by the Self Defence Force, the Japanese now support the new constitution by nearly two to one (over 60% support).
The second-largest protest was in Turkey. Some 5,000 protesters showed up. Considering it is a Moslem country, 5,000 may seem rather small and insignificant... but still, it represents a staggering 0.007% of the Turkish population. The Turkish government had better watch out: if all these people chose to seize control to express their displeasure at a war that Turkey is not involved in, the Turks might have to mobilize one of their 200 regiments to put them down.
Not to be left out, the mighty Swedes mobilized 1,000 protesters to surround the American embassy. That's 0.01%... a small country, but a doughty batch of protesters!
In Sweden, about 1,000 demonstrators gathered for a rally in Stockholm before a march to the U.S. Embassy. Some protesters carried banners reading "No to U.S. warmongering" and "USA out of Iraq," while others held up a U.S. flag with the white stars replaced by dollar signs.
Yeah, yeah... but does anybody actually care?
The protests, which drew 500,000 people in some 160 cities across the country, were the biggest show yet of escalating anger that is testing the strength of the conservative government before elections next year.
Wow, half a million people. This was by far the biggest protest demonstration of them all, drawing 0.82% of the French population -- more than 40 times the London demonstration in terms of population -- more than 33 times the size in actual numbers.
Alas, we can't really count it -- because they're not protesting the Iraq war. Their boeuf is entirely domestic: the "conservative" government in France wants to change the law to allow employers to fire incompetent employees within first two years, which is currently illegal. (Evidently, the potential of being incompetent is a besetting fear among French youths. Possibly because they spend all their time at l'Université rioting instead of studying.)
In an apparent effort to set fire to a police van serving as a blockade, protesters instead torched the entrance of a nearby Gap store, apparently by accident, engulfing the small porch in flames.
(And before we forget... the "conservative government?" In France? Only in the sense that socialists are slightly to the right of Communists. The Communist Party is very strong in France, by the way, and the French Communist Party has 21 seats in the National Assembly. In fact, adding together the eight radical-left parties, they control 177 of the 577 seats, or 31%. Radical left candidates for president received more than 12.5 million votes in the first round, or 44%. The government of France is not "conservative" by any stretch, and Yahoo is lying again.)
Maybe the French government should expand the military to alleviate the unemployment problem. Oh, wait -- do we really want rampaging French youths to have les fusils?
Best to let sleeping chiens lie, I suppose. As Emily Litella would say....
Hatched by Sachi on this day, March 19, 2006, at the time of 1:45 AM
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