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Italy: Florence set for anti-war protests

Many protesters say Iraqi oil is the reason the US wants to attack. Saturday's protest is part of an anti-globalisation forum. Photo, AFP
Anti-war protesters gathering in the Italian city of Florence for a large demonstration against military action on Iraq have reacted with anger to the United Nations Security Council resolution on weapons inspections.

But it is stopping a possible US-led attack on Iraq that has become the main issue, and many participants reacted with shock and anger when they heard about the unanimous UN vote.

"It's all because America wants to get control of Iraq's oil," was a typical comment.

Some attacked France and Russia for backing the resolution, saying they had caved in to US pressure.

But other anti-war campaigners said the vote was simply proof that the US controlled the Security Council.

- Increased support?

However, protest organisers are saying the UN decision will encourage more people to join the anti-war march.

Helen Salmon, from the Stop the War Coalition, said: "I think people are now going to be even more angry and more determined to try and stop the war."

"It is going to be mobilisation from below that can stop this, not relying on Jacques Chirac and Putin. Their interest in Iraq was as much oil-driven as America's was."

Because of fears about possible violence, many shops and businesses have closed for the weekend and boarded up their windows.

About 6,000 police and security officials are on duty for the protest.

But organisers have criticised the authorities, including Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, for whipping up tension
 
 

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