Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Deghayes addressed the protesters at the end of the march. He spoke about the horrific effects of the “war on terror”.
Omar was arrested by the US in Pakistan in 2002 and held in Guantanamo Bay. He was released and returned to his Brighton home in 2007.
To huge rounds of applause, Omar said, “The Afghan people do not want this war. I’ve seen with my own eyes the atrocities this war has caused.
“I’ve seen the bombardment of blocks of flats, weddings and buses.
“I’ve witnessed people being beaten to death at the US’s Bagram military base—the evil twin of Guantanamo. Stop the war, and stop the atrocities that still go on.”
The legacy of racism and Islamophobia has left a deep mark on British society.
Lindsey German, convenor of the Stop The War Coalition, told the rally, “We said eight years ago that if you wage war in Muslim countries you will breed Islamophobia. That is what has happened.
“Some 222 British soldiers have died in the last eight years. Thousands of Afghans have died—we don’t know how many because no one bothers to count.
“They say it’s a war for democracy. But the election in Afghanistan has nothing to do with democracy. It is a fraudulent election presided over by a fraudulent occupation.”
The crisis in Afghanistan and the rising death toll on all sides is causing millions of people to turn against the war.
We must continue to put pressure on the government to bring all the troops home now, and let Afghan people decide their own future