The largest pacifist demonstration ever seen in Italy was held in
Rome on 15 February 2003. Behind the lead banner, which read
“Let’s stop the war with no ifs or buts,” were 3 million protesters,
according to organizers (police estimates put the figure at 650,000).
Supporting the march, which was organized by 400 groups and associations,
were 350 local authorities and 136 parliamentarians.
Twenty-eight special trains and 3,000 coaches converged on Rome,
while 2,000 police officers lined the 10 kilometer path that led to the
central stage in Piazza San Giovanni.1 The march in Rome was part
of a wider global protest. L’Unità wrote on 16 February: “Dawn had
yet to break in Rome but Australia had already been marching for a
while.” This international day of protest against the war had been
launched at the European Social Forum in November 2002 and became
international when the idea was taken up in January 2003 at
the World Social Forum in Porto Allegre.