Taking global action to stop the war machine

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Feature story - 16 April, 2003
What role could the European Union play in restoring international law and order through the UN Charter? Help us call on world leaders gathering in Athens to prevent another illegal war.

The Greenpeace globe hot-air-balloon at the Acropolis in Athens where EU leaders are meeting.

Anti-war protests across the globe:


The Greenpeace hot-air balloon globe flew over the Acropolis with a banner UNite for Peace to urged world leaders to stand firm against the US. Leaders are gathering in Athens to celebrate the enlargement of the European Union, a sign of the faith increasing numbers of countries are putting in the benefits of international cooperation and collaboration. Yet at the same time the US is on the rampage, undermining those very values.

We are asking world leaders to act together to restore the United Nations and its Charter as the foundation of international law and order. We believe that the war in Iraq was and is an illegal war of aggression, flouting the UN charter, international law, and setting dangerous precedents for future relations between states.

Find out more about what is happening in Greece.


Activists in the form of swimmers, divers and crew onboard a flotilla of yachts, small water craft and kayakers, partially blocked the exit to Sydney Harbour to deliver a "No war - bring our troops home" message to the Australian government.

Find out more about what's happening in Australia.


Activists in Austria 'tanked up' a mock war machine at a Salzburg Esso station. They were protesting Esso/Exxon's continuing efforts to undermine the Kyoto treaty and pressure the US away from alternative energy research. Greenpeace is concerned that our world's oil dependancy is one of the driving factors in the war with Iraq, and will lead to future conflicts over oil.

Find out more about what's happening in Austria.


Our 'No War' balloon is one of the focal points at Berlin peace march.

UK, Germany, China

UK - Greenpeace hot air balloon delivered an anti-war message to RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, from where US B52 planes will be launching bombing raids against Iraq. The balloon featuring the message NO WAR over-flew the site and dropped leaflets down to base personnel.

Germany - A peace camp is created outside the US embassy in Berlin.

Hong Kong - Activists stage a 'Die-In' outside the US Consulate.

Australia, UK, Czech Rebublic

As Bush and Blair rush headlong for war at all costs we were taking action to show the global opposition:

In Australia, the prime minister John Howard has been placed under symbolic house arrest by Greenpeace, dressed as United Nations blue berets. Howard's action of committing Australia to war in Iraq was found to breach articles 2(4), 42 and 51 of the UN Charter. View pictures of the house arrest.

We joined protestors outside the UK parliament to urge MP's to reflect the opinion of the British public rather than Blair's blind allegiance to Bush's war. Oliver Knowles, No War campaigner said, "Poll after poll shows the overwhelming majority of the British public remain opposed to war against Iraq. We are urging people to come down to parliament and make sure their MP is under no illusions about having their support."

If war goes ahead Greenpeace are urging people in the UK to join countrywide protests organised by CND and Stop the War coalition.

In Czech Republic activists posing as innocent "civil casualties" in body bags pointed out that the attack on Iraq will likely bring the US in conflict with the Geneva Convention and most likely start a humanitarian and ecological catastrophe. Climbers raised the US flag in front of the Government Office to symbolise that the Czech Republic is given away to the war policy of the Bush administration. Tattered UN flags symbolised the blow that the unilateral attack on Iraq has given to international cooperation for peace and security.

Spain, Turkey and Russia

Activists blocked military ports in Spain and Turkey and protested in front of the Kremlin.

Find out more about these actions.

On 13 March, the "Rainbow Warrior" confronted the US Coast Guard ship "Dallas" as it left the Rota naval base in Spain armed with guns, torpedoes and harpoon missiles.

Find out more.


More than 40,000 people took to the streets of Japan to join the global protests against the impending US-led war against Iraq. Citizens and students gathered at Hibiya Park, Tokyo, and paraded through the city centre as part of the World Peace Now rally, organized by 47 non-government organisations, including Greenpeace.

Find out more about what's happening in Japan.

New Zealand

Greenpeace activists deliver body bags symbolising the first casualties of the Iraqi crisis to the Australian Prime Minister John Howard as he arrives to open the Consulate in Auckland.

Find out more about what's happening in New Zealand.


Activists erected a sculpture in the Ministry of State's courtyard. The sculpture, representing a gun whose barrel is knotted,is a copy of one given to the United Nations by Luxembourg. It stands in front of the UN headquarters in New York.

Find out more about what's happening in Luxembourg.


With 70 white crosses and dressed in black, forty activists formed a "live cemetery" in the grass in front of the House of Government in Santiago.

Find out more about what's happening in Chile. (website in Spanish)

United States

Greenpeace activists anchored a large banner to a boat, reading "When Will the U.S. Disarm? No War", and sailed it in front of the United Nations headquarters in New York. The floating banner was part of our call for all nations, including the United States, to disarm themselves of weapons of mass destruction through peaceful means.

Find out more about what's happening in the US.


Greenpeace activists joined thousands of people in a peace rally in Ankara on March 1st with a bannertargeting the Members of Parliament: 'SAY NO TO BUSH'S WAR! SAY YES TO PEACE!' Parliament rejected the proposal to let U.S. troops use military bases in Turkey.

Find out more about what's happening in Turkey.


Greenpeace activists set up a week-long peace camp outside Parliament, conducted a weapons inspection at the US embassy and delivered "veto war" valentine-cards to German, Russian, Chinese and French embassies.

Find out more about what's happening in Norway. (Website in Norwegian)


Twenty seven activists were arrested for protesting in front of the US Embassy in Santiago.

Find out more about what's happening in Chile. (website in Spanish)


In a reminder to the US government of the overwhelming wish of Chinese people for peace, a potent symbol of US military might got a small addition in Hong Kong harbour.

The peace symbol was projected onto the bow of the USS Blue Ridge.

Find out more from Greenpeace in China.


Activists in canoes and inflatables attempted to prevent the cargo ship MV Progress from leaving the port of Rotterdam. The ship was loaded with US military equipment bound for the Gulf.

Read more about activities in the Netherlands. (Website in Dutch)


On 19 February, 25 activists in France blocked a secret shipment of plutonium, delaying its more than 600 kilometer journey across the country from La Hague to Gard, through the Rhone Valley. The blockade occurred at the doorstep of a military base, stopping a truck carrying 150 kilograms of weapons-usable materials on its way from a "civilian" reprocessing plant. The truck contained more nuclear material than in all of the middle east, barring Israel.

Find out more about the blockade.

Find out more about what's happening in France. (website in French)

New Zealand

As part of demonstrations in 603 cities worldwide, Greenpeace flew an 18x6 metre banner over the America's Cup yacht race in New Zealand calling for No War.

Find out more about what is happening in New Zealand.


The Rainbow Warrior made a surprise appearance in the Belgian port of Antwerp, where US military materials, including helicopters, tanks, trucks and other vehicles are being loaded onto transport ships.

Activists confronted a US military ship enerting the locks of Antwerp while four other ships were on the other side of the lock loading up with supplies and waiting to depart.

On February 14th activists used life rafts and canoes to build a floating peace camp along the quayside.

Find out more about what is happening in Belgium.


Sydney's famous icons the Opera House and Harbour Bridge were lit up with a reminder to Prime minister John Howard that he should be promoting peace, not war in his meetings with British and Indonesian leaders.

A dove and the words "War is not the solution" fluttered across a sail of the Opera House while the message "Peace not war" flashed on the south pylon of the Harbour Bridge.

Greenpeace joined with 250,000 activists in Sydney on the 16th of February. You can see a slideshow here.

Find out more about what is happening in Australia.

Spain and China

Greenpeace assembled "Citizens' Weapons Inspection Teams" in an effort to expose the arbitrary and inconsistent nature of the UN weapons inspections in Iraq.

Find out more about what is happening in Spain. (website in Spanish)

Find out more about what is happening in China.


Greenpeace peacefully occupied British military vehicles en route to the Gulf for several days.

Speaking from the Rainbow Warrior, Greenpeace's Blake Lee Harwood said,

"The Government has already ordered the cutting of our anchor chain and attempted to have the Rainbow Warrior thrown out of Southampton but we will continue to find ways to oppose a war that will have disastrous consequences. An attack on Iraq would lead to massive civilian suffering and increase the chances that weapons of mass destruction will be used."

Find out more about what's happening in the UK.


Greenpeace volunteers in Toulouse, France demonstrated during the departure of the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier as it left for Turkey for an unknown purpose.

Find out more about what's happening in France. (website in French)


Peace activists gathered in Taksim Square, in the heart of Istanbul as the words "No to War" appeared on the facade of the Ataturk Cultural Centre.

Find out more about what's happening in Turkey.

What you can do

Write to the UN ambassadors that sit on the Security Council and ask them to uphold international law and refuse to approve a war in Iraq.

Write to UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and ask him to oppose war in Iraq and to refuse to allow UK troops to be used in such a war.

If you live in the US, consider calling on your city council to pass a resolution against a war with Iraq. Cities across the US have already passed similar resolutions and efforts are underway in dozens more communities. For more information, visit, www.citiesforpeace.org.

Join our campaign against ExxonMobil/ Esso, the world's biggest oil company. For more information, visit www.stopesso.org.

Get more ideas for getting involved from www.moveon.org , www.protest.net and www.targetoil.com.

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