Stop the War groups all over the country are organising coaches to send to London for the national demonstration on 19 March. George Cottier and Michael McDonnell from Liverpool University report, “About 100 students attended a Stop the War teach-in on Wednesday of last week.
“Speakers included Respect councillor Michael Lavalette, Chris Nineham from the Stop the War Coalition, as well as Dr Tamimi from the Muslim Association of Britain, whose invitation to speak at a meeting on Palestine had already become the centre of great attention.
“After false accusations of anti-Semitism failed to stop Tamimi’s invitation, a small group of students resorted to disrupting the meeting itself. That resulted in a clear feeling of disgust from an attendance too large to fit in the room.
“There was sustained applause for Tamimi’s impassioned speech. In frustration one supporter of Ariel Sharon’s Israel called a pro-Palestine Jew a ‘fucking kapo’ (Nazi collaborator). It was later revealed that two of those who tried to disrupt the meeting were arrested after security asked them to leave. The event has boosted anti-war activity on the campus.”
Anti-war activists have been busy in Coventry, says Dave Goodfield. “We have three coaches booked to take people to the demo on 19 March.
“We also know that lots of people will go under their own steam. One guy I spoke to didn’t want to come by coach because his extended family of around 50 people were going by train.”
James Eaden reports from Chesterfield, “We have had some very good responses from military families to our stalls, and 100 people attended a meeting with Bruce Kent last week.”
Mark Marriott from Nottingham says, “There are a layer of people who are getting involved in organising the day who haven’t been involved before.”
“The other day ten people signed up for more information at one of the meetings,” says Ed Cope, a college student in Cambridge.
Mark Henzel from Liverpool reports, “We leafleted the local Territorial Army office and got a good response. We have also leafleted outside the army recruitment offices. The mosques are sending two coaches.”
“We have filled one and a half coaches so far and are hoping to fill four,” says Fred Fritton from Swansea, “We have been getting a fantastic response from soldiers’ families in Neath. A new group of people are interested, in addition to those who were against the war a year ago.
“Now it’s hard-up kids whose mates are in the army. At the moment we’re working with local union groups to raise money to subsidise students and others who can’t afford the bus tickets themselves.”
“The really positive thing to come out of organising for 19 March is that we are working together with the mosques. For the previous demonstrations they would organise separately,” says Sue Arguile from Derby.