Socialist Worker

Anti-war rally on eve of London protests

by Siân Ruddick
Issue No. 2186

Three days of activity against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq began with a 200-strong public meeting in central London tonight, Wednesday.

The meeting took place in on the eve of a meeting of Nato leaders to discuss sending more troops to kill and be killed in Afghanistan. This will be followed by Tony Blair’s appearance before the Iraq inquiry on Friday.

Anti-war activists will protest at both of these events.

Andrew Murray, chair of the Stop the War Coalition (StWC), described the Afghan conference as an 'admission of failure' of the war and occupation of the country.

Andrew said that protesters will defy any police ban and demonstrate outside both the conference and the Iraq inquiry.

Kate Hudson, chair of CND, spoke from the platform. She said, 'Whatever these goverments agree, they will be at odds with the populations of their countries. Some 82 percent of French people oppose their government's involvement in the war. Meanwhile 71 percent of British and German people want the troops home.'

The meeting heard messages of solidarity from across Europe.

Tony Benn, president of the StWC, told the meeting, 'The war in Afghanistan has cost billions. The latest plan is to bribe the Taliban to comply with the occupation – which will make the situation ever more bitter.'

Anger at the lies world leaders have told us ran through the meeting. Lindsey German, convenor of the StWC, said, 'We need a complete holding to account to all those in charge when we went to war. If we don’t have this, how can we be sure it won’t happen again?'

Guardian journalist Seamus Milne also spoke from the platform. 'These two events show history catching up with those who unleashed this pain and suffering.

“Gordon Brown tries to tell us this is a war for democracy and freedom. Well tell that to the families of the hundreds of thousands of Afghans killed in air strikes.'

Respect MP George Galloway said, 'The life and blood of soldiers and Afghans is too precious for this war to continue.'

People left the meeting determined to build the protests tomorrow and Friday.

Protest at the Afghanistan Conference

Blockade the conference, 8.30am, Thursday 28 January, Lancaster House, Stable Yard, Saint James’s Palace, London SW1A 1BH

Blair's judgement day at the Iraq inquiry

Protest from 8am Friday 29 January, Queen Elizabeth Conference centre, SW1P 3EE. Nearest tube Westminster.

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Article information

Wed 27 Jan 2010, 21:57 GMT
Issue No. 2186
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