15 Feb 2013

Iraq war protest: 10 years after we marched

Ten years ago today, London witnessed a huge demonstration against the imminent invasion of Iraq. Channel 4 News speaks to four people who attended the protest.

It was the morning after Valentine’s day a decade ago. Millions of Britons woke with a stomach-churning sense of unease, writes Kunal Dutta.

Military intervention in Iraq felt imminent, and nothing, it appeared, could get in its way. The case for war polarised the country and produced fractious debate around the world.

The late former foreign secretary Robin Cook would eventually resign over the issue. The UN refused to grant Britain a second resolution, and 139 Labour MPs voted against Tony Blair.

On 15 February 2003, in one unforgettable expression of public sentiment, the Stop the War movement brought as many as 2 million people onto London’s streets. Vehement debate and further demonstrations continued all the way up to the invasion, on 20 March.

In the accompanying film, Channel 4 News online speaks to four of those who were present at the demonstration in London 10 years ago. They include Ian McEwan, who originally advocated military force to topple Saddam Hussein; John Rees, one of the protest’s main organisers; Sarah Jewell, now an activist with Occupy; and trainee lawyer Henna Malik, who was an A-level student in 2003.

Each reflects on the event a decade ago and on how their lives have been shaped since.

We want your memories of the day, too. Tell us on Twitter, using the hashtag #dayofthemarch.