Rifondazione leads Rome anti-war demonstration

On the same day as 300,000 demonstrators marched in London in protest against the war on Iraq, up to 100,000 also took to the streets of Rome. The demonstration was originally organised to mark the end of Rifondazione's month-long festival in the Italian capital, but in light of the imminent war on Iraq the focus of the demo had changed. Many of the posters and placards carried anti-war slogans, along with messages of Palestinian solidarity. There were also placards in support of Cuba against the American blockade and the odd rainbow flag of the christian charity-type organisations. Overall, however, the red flags of Rifondazione by far outnumbered any other groups or campaigns. The demonstration was evidently leftwing, rather than the sort we see in Britain where the organised left makes up a minority section - often under the banner of some 'broad' group: eg, the Stop the War Coalition. The mood was very upbeat and lively, with singing and music blaring from vans. The march was composed of people of all ages marching from the Coliseum to a rally at the Piazza del Populo, where there were various speakers, including Liz Davies representing the Socialist Alliance. The demonstrations in London and Rome are the start of a succession of mass anti-war demonstrations across Europe - the next one is called in Paris for Saturday October 5. Sarah McDonald * Italian comrades play host