Up to 5,000 people marched through central London today, Saturday, on a demonstration to oppose military intervention in Syria.
Murad Hussein travelled from Manchester with a group of friends. His parents are Syrian. He told Socialist Worker.
“It’s important to show we care about ordinary Syrian people and oppose our government's drive to war. Thursday’s vote in parliament shows it was right that we took a stand against the war in Afghanistan and Iraq and that's now having an effect.
“The politicians are worried the people will rebel against them again.”
Gill Burkinshaw from the Peterborough Peace Campaign told Socialist Worker, “After the vote we’ve prised something open. The fact that we are out on the streets gives others the strength to keep organising. The whole game of politics needs to be changed. They have no long term vision.”
Joanna Nowicki had travelled from near Cambridge. She agreed, saying, “We need to open a dialogue about foreign policy. Ministers just seem to serve the interests of the military industrial complex. They certainly don’t care about saving people in the Middle East.”
Zara is a student from Ilford, east London, who was on her first demonstration. “It’s nice to see people from so many different backgrounds,” she said. “I’ve been worried about coming on marches before because I’ve been told they’re violent, but this is really peaceful.”
Her friend Amrit was pleased that parliament has voted against war. She said, “That’s true democracy. For once MPs stood up for what the majority want.”
The march was called by the Stop the War Coalition (StWC) and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). It ended with a rally in Trafalgar Square. Jeremy Corbyn MP, chair of StWC, said that he hoped Thursday’s vote would be a sea change, but that campaigners can’t rest on their laurels as the US still wants to bomb, with or without British support.
Kate Hudson from CND said the anti-war movement has been responsible for “breaking the bloody chains” that tie Britain to the US.
Veteran campaigner Tony Benn said , “This is a remarkable occasion where we are here to congratulate ourselves.”
Speakers from the Unite, UCU and NUT unions emphasised trade union support for the campaign.
Other speakers included campaigner Tariq Ali, Green Party leader Natalie Bennett and Craig Murray, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan turned whistleblower.
Demonstrate against the US bombing Syria, Tuesday 3 September, 5.30pm, US Embassy, Grosvenor Square, London W1A 2LQ stopwar.org.uk
Scottish march opposes Syria attack
by Keir McKechnie
Around 300 people demonstrated in Glasgow today, Saturday, against any Western attack on Syria.
The protest was called by STWC Scotland and supported by Scottish CND.
Angela McCormick from STWC told the marchers, "The anti-war movement has stopped British participation in another imperial slaughter.” She urged everyone to keep up agitation against continuing threats to Syria from the US and France.
Arthur West from Scottish CND said he had been in an MP’s office before last week’s vote and some 60 emails came in during an hour—all against intervention.
Margaret Woods from Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees said that those who say we must “do something” ought to demand lifting all restrictions on people fleeing Syria coming to Britain.
She added, “Hope in the Middle East comes from the movement that has toppled dictators, not Western bombers.”