On an unseasonably sultry Sunday afternoon in New York, up to 15,000 Marchers came together to march for nuclear disarmament the day after a car bomb in Times Square failed to go off. A strong police presence was in evidence and the peaceful March passed off with no incidents apart from those who failed to bring sufficient protection from the sun.
A huge Japanese delegation of some 1600 people, including 100 Hibakusha – atomic bomb survivors – took part driving home the message that 2 atom bombs have already been dropped on civilians in anger and that this NPT conference needs to ensure that there is never a 3rd bomb.
Speakers called on the NPT delegates to push for talks to begin on a Nuclear Weapons Convention while others denounced the damage caused by uranium mining, the division of the Korean Peninsula and military spending among many other issues.
The Mayor of Hiroshima called on nuclear weapons to be phased out by the year 2020 and to celebrate this achievement by holding the Olympic Summer Games of the same year in Hiroshima.
Rafael de la Rubia, the Spanish spokesperson for the World March for Peace and Nonviolence was in attendance at the head of the March carrying the Abolition Torch that travelled with the World March. Other torches were carried by Mayor Akiba of Hiroshima, the organisation Footprints for Peace who had just completed a March that started on the the 11th of February that passed through the US states of Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, the Indian tribal Elder for the Haudenosaunee people on whose land the UN building is situated, and Mayor Bob Harvey of Waitakere City who had the World March torches crafted in New Zealand.
De la Rubia explained, *“This is the fulfilment of the promise that we gave on the 2nd of January at the end of the March to bring the torch to New York for the start of the NPT conference.”*
Talking about the urgent need for nuclear disarmament, the World without Wars and Violence President explained, *“World without Wars continues to condemn the position of nuclear weapons states, requesting them to fulfil the promises they undertook upon signing the treaty. The future of humanity will pass through the total elimination of nuclear weapons and in our opinion this is the moment to take this step.”*