From the Google cache of Dear Kitty Modblog, 2/2/06.
On Thursday 2 February , there was a demonstration in The Hague, The Netherlands.
Its theme was: No troops to Afghanistan – No support for George W. Bush.
That evening, the Dutch Parliament debated whether or not to send 1200 Dutch soldiers to the province of Uruzgan in southern Afghanistan.
The government said yes.
The demonstration outside the Parliament building, on the Plein square, was there to support the arguments against sending those soldiers:
Dutch troops in Uruzgan would be in a war zone.
They will not effectively be able to be peacekeepers.
They will be supporters of US American acts of war in that region.
This war is waged without any regard for the lives of the people of Afghanistan and for human rights.
The mission in Afghanistan will free US American soldiers for the government to send them to other countries [like to invade Venezuela or Bolivia].
In this way, the Dutch government would support the illegal and counterproductive occupation of Iraq.
A helping hand gesture to George Bush is not worth the lives of Afghan civilians and Dutch soldiers.
The national coordination platform of the Dutch peace movement, with hundreds of member organizations, supported this demonstration, and had taken over its organization.
Among the demonstrators were refugee women from Iran, also preparing an International Women’s Day demonstration on 8 March.
There was street theater, with a “soldier” carrying a “dead baby”.
The soldier met “Bush” and told him he had killed that baby. “Is that baby a terrorist”? “Bush”: “That is just collateral damage; carry on like this”.
There was also a “Statue of liberty”, and many “limbs” and “blood” at the entry to the Dutch parliament.
A sign said: “We need MPs with backbone” to vote against sending the troops to Afghanistan, in spite of US economic threats against The Netherlands if they wouldn’t.
Another one: ”Don’t help Bush to torture Afghans!” And: “Give peace a chance”.
And “Wouter Bos [leader of the PvdA, the Dutch social democratic labour party] gives up his party principles for a prospective government job”.
A PvdA congress delegate from Amsterdam had come to The Hague to join the demonstration, with a big party flag. Also with a sign, saying: “Why should Wouter Bos do what even [Italian Rightist Prime Minister] Silvio Berlusconi does not?”
He was angry that Wouter Bos had said No to sending troops to Afghanistan till just before the parliamentary decision: when he had flip-flopped, while the government might not have had a majority for the decision without the PvdA.
He said: the overwhelming majority of PvdA members oppose sending the soldiers to Afghanistan.
Party leader Bos had not dared to ask the party council for a decision; as he knew that would have been No.
The Amsterdam PvdA member said: this way, Bos goes the wrong way. Closer to the disastrous situation in Britain, where, under Blair, social democracy has worsened more than anywhere else in the world.
In the early nineteen sixties, the PvdA leaders supported the US war in Vietnam.
It took a revolt of the party rank and file, the Nieuw Links (New Left) movement, to change the Vietnam war position. We may need something like that now.
When a United States general came out of the Parliament building, where he probably had been lobbying, the demonstrators shouted: Bush terrorist!
Also, later: Bin Laden terrorist! Blair terrorist! [Dutch Prime minister] Balkenende terrorist!
There were also banners, flags, and signs of the Socialist Party; of its youth organization Rood; of anarchists; of Dutch Turkish workers, and rainbow peace flags.
People shouted: Bush, Blair, Balkenende, get the troops out!
And: Close down Guantanamo!
And: No blood for oil, no blood for Bush!
Concluding the demonstration, one of the organizers said in a speech: Even if the soldiers will go to Afghanistan, we will keep waging actions, to get them back out again. And to end George W. Bush’s wars!
A report in Dutch, also with photographs, here.