Socialist Worker

Ten years after Iraq protest, hundreds attend Stop the War conference

by Siân Ruddick
Issue No. 2340

Around 800 people attended a conference on Saturday of last week marking ten years from the huge demonstrations against the invasion of Iraq (see pages 10 and 11).

The conference, Confronting War Ten Years On, was organised by the Stop the War Coalition.

It heard from anti-war activists from Britain and across the world, including a video link-up with Noam Chomsky.

Tariq Ali addressed the opening session and spoke about the legacy of the anti-war movement. He called on people to rebuild that movement globally.

“The enormous majority of people who came out ten years ago were people that had never demonstrated before,” he said.

“They didn’t realise that it takes more than large demonstrations these days to stop wars politicians have been planning.”

He was joined on the platform by veteran anti-war campaigner Tony Benn who received a standing ovation from the crowd in the Friends Meeting House in central London.

Workshops covered topics such as Islamophobia, the use of drones in the “war on terror”, Palestine and the new scramble for Africa.

Mitra Qayoom from the Afghans for Peace organisation told how life is worse now for women in Afghanistan than it was before the West’s war and occupation.

“Domestic violence and street harassment are on the rise,” she said.

“Unemployment is high which leads to frustration.

“People have been forced from their homes to avoid air strikes and are now living in refugee camps in Kabul, selling fruit and vegetables on the street.

“Most days these men do not make much money. They go home and take this frustration out on their wives.”

The final session heard from activists from the US, Canada and Germany.

The Stop the War Coalition has called a protest against imperialist intervention in Syria and for Western troops out of Mali.

It was set to take place on Friday of this week, at 5.30pm opposite Downing Street in central London

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