On this day February 15, 2003
In one of the largest anti-war rallies in history, millions around the world in approximately 800 cities took part in protests against the impending invasion of Iraq.
Millions of people protested in approximately 800 cities around the world.
According to BBC News, between six and ten million people took part in protests in up to sixty countries over the weekend of the 15th and 16th; other estimates range from eight million to thirty million.
Some of the largest protests took place in Europe.
The protest in Rome involved around 3 million people, and is listed in the 2004 Guinness Book of World Records as the largest anti-war rally in history.
Opposition to the war was highest in the Middle East, although protests there were relatively small. Mainland China was the only major region not to see any protests, but small demonstrations attended mainly by foreign students were seen later.
In 2002, the United States government began to argue for the necessity of invading Iraq. This formally began with a speech by U.S President George W. Bush to the United Nations General Assembly on September 12, 2002 which argued that the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein was violating U.N. resolutions, primarily on weapons of mass destruction.
The proposed war was controversial with many people questioning the motives of the U.S government and its rationale. One poll which covered 41 countries claimed that less than 10% would support an invasion of Iraq without UN sanction and that half would not support an invasion under any circumstances.
Anti-war groups across the world organised public protests. According to the French academic Dominique Reynié between the 3 January and 12 April 2003, 36 million people across the globe took part in almost 3,000 anti-war protests, the demonstrations on 15 February 2003 being the largest and most prolific.
The invasion of Iraq began on March 20, 2003.