Expatica (Netherlands), Feb. 14, 2003
The march organiser, Platform tegen Oorlog (Platform against War), was quoted in the Spits newspaper saying that “tens of thousands” were expected to take part to show their opposition to a US-led war against Iraq.
The protest is scheduled to coincide with similar marches in other major cities around the world. CNN reported on Friday that millions of people are expected to take to the streets in 300 cities and towns across the globe on Saturday in opposition to military action against Iraq.
The biggest protests are planned for Europe with 500,000 expected in London and Barcelona, an expected 100,000 in Paris and Rome and 80,000 in Berlin, CNN said.
The Dutch demonstration starts in the Dam in central Amsterdam at 1pm and will make its way via Rozengracht and Marnixstraat to Leidseplein.
Motorists are warned that the centre of Amsterdam will not be accessible while the march is going on. It is also likely that public transport will be disrupted.
Some 200 organisations are linked with the Platform tegen Oorlog, including the Socialist Party and green left GroenLinks. A small group calling itself Americans against the war is also taking part.
The Dutch Labour Party (PvdA) has indicated it is against a US strike against Iraq which has not been sanctioned by the UN Security Council. But a notice on the PvdA website states that the party is not taking part in Saturday’s protest.
The notice says the party came to the decision not to take part “because the demonstrators have come out against war in any circumstances. That is contrary to our standpoint that the work of the UN weapons inspectors has to be supported”.
The PvdA is currently in negotiation with the Christian Democrats (CDA) about forming the next coalition government. The CDA is the leading party in the outgoing coalition and has made clear it is a strong supporter of the US.
Socialist Party leader Jan Marijnissen hit out at Labour, saying that Labour leader Wouter Bos had given the impression prior to the general election on 22 January 2003 that a vote for the PvdA was a vote against the war.
Meanwhile, an opinion poll for television programme Stem van Nederland found that 46 percent of the Dutch think the US is a bigger threat to world peace than Iraq or North Korea.
In another survey for television show Netwerk, 39 percent said the US was the major threat to peace, followed by Iraq with 36 percent.
Some 75 percent of those polled said the Netherlands should not join in a war against Iraq unless there was a new UN mandate and 65 percent backed giving UN weapons inspectors more time.