About 5,700 protesters filled the downtownstreets of Winnipeg Saturday to send this message to world leaders: Find a peaceful solution to the Iraq situation.

Demonstrators gathered at City Hall and followed afour-kilometre route to the Manitoba legislature tohear a group of speakers that included an Iraqi mother, Barbara Byers of the Canadian Labour Congress, and MP Bill Blaikie. The Transcona NDPrepresentative remarked that the crowd was thelargest he’s seen at the legislature since thehistoric march of 1983 when 35,000 activists descended upon the legislature to protest cruise missile testing.

The threat of war has again inspired Winnipeggers topick up their signs to let their opposition to armedconflict be known. “I really want to put a human face on this,” said BevRidd of Project Peacemakers as she walked with thecrowd along Main Street. “When the Bush administrationsay they want to attack by shock and awe andcompletely destroy Baghdad… Baghdad is not an emptybox. Baghdad is full of people like us.”

A group of modern dancers calling themselves theBushwhackers acted out their message as they strodedown Portage Avenue.

Upon arriving at the legislature, six short anti-warspeeches were delivered. One speaker was long-time political activist CarlRidd. “The right way [to proceed in Iraq] is throughdiplomacy and negotiation,” Ridd said. “War is thelast resort. Americans are starting to use it as afirst resort.”

“To usurp the United Nations and to bully it about isalso not the right way. That’s the greatest danger tothe U.N.: the intent by the United States toseize control and to make it a tool of American interests.”

Ridd suggests the best course of action for Canadais to strive, through United Nations, “to create thekind of world situation we’re longing for. Bombsaren’t going to do it, that’s for sure.”