Socialist Worker

Stop the War activists pile on pressure for 24 February demo

Issue No. 2035

Momentum is growing for the national demonstration on Saturday 24 February called by the Stop the War Coalition and CND against the replacement of Trident and calling for troops out of Iraq.

Manchester

In Manchester, Stop the War and CND are running joint transport from several areas of the city. In Chorlton, in the south of the city, the local Stop the War group has been out gathering signatures on postcards to hand in at a lobby of their MP urging him to vote against Trident replacement.

Students in the city are also mobilising. Yasmin Kaberry, a first year student at Manchester Metropolitan University, told Socialist Worker, 'Our Stop the War society has booked a coach for the demonstration.

'We know that lots of students are against the war and Trident replacement – the demo gives us a focus to get them involved. Since Christmas we have had new people coming along to our meetings and helping to organise our campaign.

'In the run up to the demo, we are organising a week of events at our university including a ?lecturers' debate, a film showing, and a public meeting. Several bands have been in touch to say that they will play at an anti-war gig that week.'

Kent

At the University of Canterbury in Kent, students organised a protest last week against a visit by US ambassador Robert Tuttle who was speaking at the university on US foreign policy.

Jude Sajdi, president of the Respect society at the university, said, 'We only found out that Tuttle was coming the morning of the visit. When he turned up he was greeted by shouts of 'warmonger'.

'Stop the War activists distributed leaflets for the London demonstration and met with a very good reception from those who were attending the lecture.'

Norwich

Over 100 people attended a film showing in Norwich last week. Peter Offord, chair of Norwich Stop the War, said that they used the event to publicise the demonstration.

He added that, 'the film showing was organised in conjunction with Dr Nicola Pratt, University of East Anglia lecturer and associate editor of the British Journal of Middle Eastern studies'.

Somali community

Britain's Somali community is also deeply angered by the 'war on terror' – particularly its extension into Somalia.

Indignation at the US and Ethiopian invasion brought around 100 people to a Stop the War meeting entitled Hands Off Somalia at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London on Wednesday of last week.

Stop the War convenor Lindsey German spoke about how the invasion of Somalia had to be seen in the wider context of US imperialism in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Somali speakers included Junayd Egale of Rajo (Hope For Somalia), who condemned the ongoing – and largely unreported – US attacks on southern Somalia.

He also condemned the British government for doing nothing to help British Somalis trapped in the country.

lOther Stop the War public meetings last week included 90 people in Hackney and 130 in Newham, both in east London.


Stop the War a hit in Scotland

Support is growing for the first all Scotland Stop the War conference to be held in Glasgow on 10 February.

Nicola Fisher, chair of Glasgow Stop the War, told Socialist Worker, 'Our conference is backed by the Scottish TUC and will be officially opened by Lord Provost Elizabeth Cameron.

'We have a wide range of people who have committed to speaking. It is very encouraging that we have Labour MSPs and councillors coming to join those of other parties.

'Leading figures from the Stop the War movement will be joining trade union officials, and even US military personnel will be speaking out – which is testimony to the breadth of opposition to Tony Blair's war in Iraq.

'The determination of the US neocons to extend their murderous foray in Iraq – and with Iran and Syria still very much in their sights – makes this conference a vital opportunity to further strengthen the anti-war movement.

'This conference will allow us to send a strong message of opposition to the so-called 'war on terror' in all its forms, and to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the run up to the national demonstration in Glasgow on the 24 February.'


Media workers speak out

More than 100 people packed into a Media Workers Against the War (MWAW) meeting against Islamophobic reporting on Monday of this week.

They heard Guardian columnist Gary Younge point out the contradictions of a government that celebrates 'multicultural Britain' when it comes to bidding for the Olympics but then takes every opportunity to stir up racist hatred against Muslims.

Craig Murray, Britain's former ambassador to Uzbekistan, made an impassioned attack on the government's record on human rights.

Chris Nineham of the Stop the War Coalition pointed to recent studies of the media that proved conclusively that the bulk of media coverage on the war in Iraq backed the US and British government's justifications for the invasion.

Urmee Mazher, a journalist from Bangla TV, spoke about the terrible effect of the media's reporting on the Muslim community.

Everyone agreed that media workers have an important role to play in the struggle against war and racism.

Alan Gibson

Media Workers Against the War holds its next meeting on Monday 5 February at the National Union of Journalists' HQ at 308 Gray's Inn Road, London WC1

For more details of Stop the War meetings in your area, see our events page or visit the Stop the War Coalition website.


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