Socialist Worker

Stop the War takes to streets against Tory war in Syria

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2483

Up to 5,000 people marched in London against the bombing of Syria

Up to 5,000 people marched in London against the bombing of Syria


Up to 5,000 people marched through central London in protest at Britain bombing Syria today, Saturday.

Hundreds had come from across Britain to protest against David Cameron's new imperialist war. The Stop the War Coalition called the demonstration.

Abhijith, a school student from Bristol, had helped organise a local anti-war protest last week. "Young people really connect when they see other young people dying in Syria," he said. "But David Cameron's got a different agenda.

Abhijith, a school student from Bristol, joined the march

Abhijith, a school student from Bristol, joined the march (Pic: Socialist Worker)

"He isn't looking at what bombing did in Iraq and what it's doing now in Yemen. But Britain's got ties with Saudi Arabia and Qatar that are funding groups in Syria."

Stop the War groups and trade union branches had mobilised for the protest. It included a large contingent from Rotherham in South Yorkshire.

Humairaa said, "David Cameron's an arsehole. He claims he's bombing Isis, but bombing Syria is just going to kill innocent people and make more refugees.

"Muslims are being made to feel like they're not part of Britain and racist attacks will increase."

Hafsah added, "It will just make the problems worse - it won't make Britain safer."

Several union banners were on the march, including from the Unison and UCU unions.

Mandy Brown, Lambeth College UCU member, slammed the Tories hypocrisy on austerity. "The Tories are cutting courses and they tell us there's no money for education," she said.

"But there's always an unlimited pot of cash for their wars."

Furious

Many people were furious with the Labour MPs who'd backed the Tories.

Fatima from Birmingham said, "We went and asked our MP Stephen Speller why he voted for bombing. Was it because people had written to him asking him to? No.

"He just didn't have an answer - they're just Tory-lite."

Tez Livin, from Derby North Labour Party, had rejoined to back Corbyn. He said, "I'm not surprised those Labour MPs voted to bomb Syria, they're just careerists.

"Now grassroots campaigning is crucial because PLP doesn't represent us."

The march snaked from the BBC to a rally outside Downing Street.

Peter Brierley told Socialist Worker, "My son was killed in Iraq.

Fatima from Birmingham (centre)

Fatima from Birmingham (centre) (Pic: Socialist Worker)

"The same as happened in Iraq is happening in Syria now. All bombing does is kill people and destroy infrastructure."

The demonstration came after a week of attacks on the Stop the War Coalition by politicians and some of the press.

Lindsey German from the Stop the War Coalition told the rally, "We won't be apologising for anything.

"What we said has been proved right and our government has been proved wrong.

"We did the right thing in the past and will continue doing it."

The Tories say bombing will help ordinary Syrians. But Nadim Nassar from Syria said, "What's happening in Syria we haven't seen since the Second World War.

"Why can't they learn from history?"

And Angela McCormick from Stop the War Scotland said, "We won't let the tragic killings in Paris be used as an excuse for more killing.

"We send the message that we welcome refugees and we condemn the MPs who use refugees as an excuse for bombing."

A message from Jeremy Corbyn was read out. It said, "Most of all you've called it right on the wars of the last 14 years.

"We can and will bring these wars to an end."

Unite union leader Len McCluskey also sent a message of support.

Other speakers included Weyman Bennett from Stand Up to Racism, deputy Green Party leader Shahrar Ali and Alex Kenny from the NUT union.

stopwar.org.uk


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