Socialist Worker

'Don't Bomb Syria' protesters block Whitehall

by Sarah Ensor
Issue No. 2368

Protesters against bombing Syrua occupied the road in Whitehall, blocking traffic

Protesters against bombing Syrua occupied the road in Whitehall, blocking traffic (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Up to 1,000 people blocked Whitehall and stopped traffic in central London yesterday evening, Wednesday, against David Cameron’s threat to bomb Syria.

The Stop the War Coalition (STW) called the protest at short notice once the British and US governments looked set for an immediate attack Syria. The current crisis began with a chemical weapons attack in Damascus last week.

The British parliament has been recalled for today, Thursday, to discuss an attack. The degree of hostility to intervention is so high that Cameron has had to retreat from voting on an immediate attack.

Obi, a student from London, was on her first demonstration. She told Socialist Worker, “This is a very flammable situation and the West could escalate it. Intervention won’t help the situation—we’ll just add fuel to the fire.”

Front bench Labour MP Diane Abbott addressed the crowd, saying she wanted to put it “beyond doubt” that she would vote against an attack.

Stop the War chair Jeremy Corbyn MP also spoke. Other speakers included Steve Hedley from RMT the transport union—who called for civil disobedience—and Mark Campbell, chair of Kurdish Federation in Britain.

Some tension was caused when a small group of protesters began actively shouting support for dictator Bashar al-Assad.

Support for Assad annoyed Syrian protester Sana Al Awabdh, who told Socialist Worker, “We’ve had two years of foreign intervention already with Iran and Hizbollah from Lebanon helping Assad. It’s beginning to be civil war.

“But it was a revolution in the beginning and still is a revolution because many of the Free Syrian Army fighters just want freedom.”

National demonstration: No attack on Syria
Saturday 31 August, assemble 12 noon, Temple Place (nearest tube Temple), London WC2R
Called by Stop the War and CND.
The protest against Britain bombing Syria last night

The protest against Britain bombing Syria last night (Pic: Guy Smallman)


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