Home secretary Jack Straw has invited US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice to north west England.
In response nearly 200 people gathered in Blackburn – Straw’s constituency – on Friday of last week for an anti-war meeting.
The meeting took place in spite of opposition from the authorities. “It was a great success and we were particularly pleased by the number of young people in the audience,” said Preston Respect councillor Michael Lavalette, who helped organise the meeting.
The audience heard George Galloway MP and Lindsey German of the Stop the War Coalition condemn Rice’s planned visit.
The day before the meeting organisers were told that the community centre was set to be closed for essential electrical work. “We went to investigate and found a karate class taking place there,” said Michael.
After complaints from activists and news stories on regional radio, the council made a larger venue available.
The next day, writes Mark Henzel, 100 people, including Bob Wareing MP and a city councillor, protested in Liverpool against Rice being invited to an extraordinary rendition of chamber music from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. Rice is turning a blind eye to the extraordinary renditions of people to torture chambers around the world.