Socialist Worker

Thousands take to the streets for emergency protests

Issue No. 2482

Protesting in Whitehall last Saturday

Protesting in Whitehall last Saturday (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Around 5,000 people joined an emergency protest outside Downing Street last Saturday against Britain joining the bombing of Syria. The protest had been called with just a few days’ notice.

Chants of, “Don’t bomb Syria” and, “David Cameron—shame on you” rang through Whitehall.

Sharif came to Britain from Syria about one year ago. “I know what’s going on in Syria from friends still inside,” he said. “Bombing will kill innocent men, women and children.”

Cameron claims that war is necessary to “defeat Isis”. But Naima from Iraq wasn’t convinced. “The war in Iraq created the terrorism in the first place,” she said. “What do they expect to happen from people after they invade?”

Hundreds joined anti-war protests in towns and cities across Britain. In Bristol some 200 people assembled in the city centre. Speakers called for a protest on the day any bombing starts and also spoke out against the Islamophobia ramped up by the media and Tories.

In London Sabby Dahlu from Stand Up to Racism was loudly cheered when she told the rally, “Muslims are not the enemy within —Islamophobia and racism are the enemy.”

Protesters managed to briefly take over the whole of Whitehall near the front of the protest. Many people, such as Ramzi from North London, were on their first protest. “We’re just totally opposed to going into a new war,” he said. “It’s not going to help the people in Syria.”

Unite union leader Len McCluskey sent a message of support and some protesters brought local Labour Party banners.

Diane Abbott, the shadow international development secretary, brought solidarity from herself and Jeremy Corbyn.

Lindsey German from the Stop the War Coalition told the rally, “This is just the start —we’ll be here on the eve of the vote.”

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