South China Morning Post   2003-03-21 


Hundreds take their protests to the streets 


       Hundreds of activists, religious leaders and politicians yesterday took to the streets in separate protests against the war.  

Despite being too late to voice its official opposition to the war before it started, the Legislative Council unanimously passed a motion yesterday afternoon calling for an immediate halt to military action and an intervention by China at the United Nations.  

Lawmakers from across the political spectrum joined hands and marched in protest from the Legco building to the US consulate at 4.30pm, after passing the motion. They said the war was in clear contempt of the UN.  

Unionist Lee Cheuk-yan said: [US President George W.] Bush said Iraq is part of the axis of evil. We see a new axis arising, which is the US and Britain. They are the new evil who ignore the lives of the innocent to start a war for their own gain.  

Tam Yiu-chung, of the Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hong Kong, accused Mr Bush of depriving Iraqis of the right to live.  

Democrat Martin Lee Chu-ming warned the US and Britain with a Biblical quote from Christ: Put away the sword as he who uses the sword shall perish.  

Liberal Party chairman James Tien Pei-chun said war would harm the economy.

 In a separate rally early yesterday afternoon, a group of about 50 anti-war activists, including Muslims and nationals from the US and Britain, protested in heavy rain outside the US consulate, denouncing the hostilities.

 Carrying placards displaying pictures of Iraqi civilians, the protesters chanted: Bush loves war! No blood for oil! Stop the war!

 The Reverend Fung Chi-wood, spokesman for the Hong Kong No War Coalition, said the group strongly opposed and condemned the US-led military action, which it believed was a mission to control oil supplies through overwhelming military might.

 To express his discontent over the war, he began a 48-hour hunger strike in front of the US consulate, where a peace camp was set up.

 American citizen Bruce Van Voorhis, communications officer of the Asian Human Rights Commission and a core member of the coalition, described the war against Iraq as evil versus evil.  

We have been told that this war is to liberate the Iraqi people, but how many Iraqis will die during their liberation? he asked.

 The group presented a petition to the consulate staff expressing Hong Kong citizens' opposition to the war.

 A candlelight vigil was also held in Chater Garden in Central yesterday evening while another anti-war gathering will be held in Edinburgh Place on Sunday.