YORK could be facing civil disobedience and strikes if war with Iraq goes ahead.

Anti-war campaigners in the city say if the massive demonstrations seen at the weekend are ignored they may have to take more direct action.

Over the weekend, Tony Blair remained resolute about the use of force to disarm Saddam Hussein, despite protests in London and in other parts of the country - including York - showing the huge public opposition.

Rory Palmer, spokesman for York Against the War, said if the worst came to the worst, direct action was possible.

He said: "This will involve workplace stoppages for short periods through trade unions, and this might build up to strikes.

"I would also expect some sort of non-violent civil disobedience. This will take the form of more spontaneous demonstrations planned at short notice."

Mr Palmer said students in the city could be involved, and some sort of non-violent disruption to the university would be a possibility, although he did not want to give specific details because he said this would reduce the impact.

He said: "It would be something that would disrupt the university in a way that was relevant, we are not going to do something just for the sake of it.

"Disrupting the country is one way that Blair will get the message. If he is going to ignore 1.5 million people walking through London we have to think more creatively and remain strong."

Rory said he was encouraged by the number of people that travelled to London at the weekend, particularly those who had never been involved in anti-war activity before.

But said despite the success of the day they still had to remain strong and active to get the message across.

He said: "The main thing is that York Against the War will remain resolute, we have to be dynamic and strong in lobbying people."

The group aims to continue to lobby York MP Hugh Bayley and is planning a mass lobby on Saturday.

Mr Bayley, speaking from the Nato Parliamentary Assembly in Brussels today, said: "It is clear that people here are listening to the voices of the demonstrators over the weekend.

"People want to avoid the war if possible. I mean everybody, including the Americans.

"I think it is essential to keep talking, I do not think the Americans would be working with the UN if Tony Blair had not continued to press for it to be dealt with."

Updated: 10:46 Monday, February 17, 2003