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ON THURSDAY 20TH OF MARCH, the first day of hostilities in Iraq, I hopped on the 42 bus to go into town for a business meeting, but was soon caught in a traffic jam on Wilmslow Rd. I got off, walked up to the university to find that anti-war protesters had blocked the road in front of the university. I decided to follow and photograph the demo, trying to capture the mood of the event and the people taking part. By way of contrast, In the second part of this article I present pictures of the Kurdish demo which took place in Manchester the previous Friday. Many Kurds are in favour of military action to remove the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. 24 images of two demos with two opposing viewpoints both taking place on the streets of Manchester.

PROTESTERS MARCH NORTH PAST the UMIST Business Studies building, on Oxford Road next to the Commonwealth Games pool or Manchester Aquatics Centre. Here we are looking from the west side of Oxford Road in front of the Royal Northern College of Music. A single decker bus is caught in a line of southbound traffic.

EWM says: I wanted to document the demonstration within the context of familiar buildings and street scenes in Manchester.

THE MARCH CONTINUES ALONG OXFORD ROAD, passing under the railway bridge past the Palace Hotel (former Refuge Assurance Building). The 'LOVE NOT WAR' banner is the most prominent. They are accompanied by policemen and women on horses.

EWM says: I had to be careful not to get in the way of the police horses.

THE DEMO CONTINUES ALONG CORPORATION STREET after passing along Peter St, Deansgate, St Mary's Gate and Cross Street. In the background is the Urbis Centre with its distinctive horizontal lightning conductor.

EWM says: Some of the protesters were getting very worked up and shouted a lot, but the mood stayed calm and there was no trouble.

THE PROTESTERS TURN RIGHT at Corporation Street onto Miller Street. In the distance is the tower of HMP Manchester, aka Strangeways Prison. The tower looks like the minaret of a mosque, a fitting backdrop for a demonstration against hostilities in a Middle Eastern country.

EWM says: Yes, for a moment it appears the protesters have been transported from Manchester UK into Mosul Iraq. If this was an anti-government demonstration in Iraq, everyone would be arrested and thrown into jail, or killed.



All photos and articles ©Aidan O'Rourke

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