ANTI-WAR campaigners are hitting the streets to get things moving for the People's Assembly in two weeks time and the national demonstration in London on Saturday 27 September. The People's Assembly is designed to call the government to account for its policies over the war.
Stop the War Coalition activists in Nottingham have got together to start phoning around the thousands of people who went on the 15 February demo from the area. John explained, 'We have six coaches booked already for the 27 September march. By the end of last week we had got through to around 100 people on the phone. In fact, we couldn't get off the phone because people seized the chance to have a good rant about Blair, his lies and the occupation of Iraq. Everyone we talked to was keen on coming to London again. Judging by this response, I see no reason why there shouldn't be a huge demonstration on the streets again.'
In Glasgow, a recent stall in Buchanan Street raised £106 towards transport to London. Already three coaches have been booked from Glasgow and one from Inverclyde. The Stop the War Coalition in Norwich have booked their first coach and they are holding stalls every Saturday to sell tickets.
Two coaches have already been booked from Leeds. Around 25 people attended the last organising meeting for the demonstration. Campaigners plan to organise a series of local Stop the War meetings in every area of Leeds.
The People's Assembly is attracting a lot of interest among trade union members. Helen from Norwich says, 'We went to the local post office and met some really good stewards. We told them about the People's Assembly and they were interested, saying they will talk about organising a delegation.'
In south east London, activists have started visiting local workplaces to encourage delegations for the People's Assembly. They have already received invitations to talk to the civil servants' union in Bromley and Unison union members at Lewisham Hospital.
A delegation of trade unionists is coming from the Bedford and Luton area with members of the GPMU and Unison unions. 'Some 29 people came to a Stop the War planning meeting in Bournemouth,' reports Steve. It decided to have some sort of event on the Sunday of the Labour Party conference, which is held in the town. We are also going for a big rally and demonstration on the Tuesday of the conference.'
TWO HUNDRED and two people attended a sell-out showing of the film Power and Terror: Noam Chomsky in our Times, organised by the Birmingham Stop the War Coalition at the Midlands Arts Institute last week. Speakers from the floor stressed the importance of the People's Assembly on Saturday 30 August in addressing exactly these issues.
SAKINA KARIMJEE, Birmingham Stop the War Coalition
OVER 120 people attended a meeting about Guantanamo Bay organised by Birmingham Socialist Alliance last week. A coach-full of people from Tipton attended the meeting. They included many friends and relatives of the three young men from Tipton detained in Guantanamo Bay.
Speakers at the meeting included: Nick Wrack, a civil rights lawyer and national chair of the Socialist Alliance; Mr Ahmed, father of detainee Rahul Ahmed; Shaz Manir from Birmingham Stop the War Coalition; and Lynne Hubbard, chair of Birmingham Socialist Alliance.
SALMA IQBAL, Birmingham Socialist Alliance