Socialist Worker

100,000 march in London against Blair’s wars

Issue No. 1992

On Saturday

On Saturday's march (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Well over 100,000 anti-war protesters from across Britain marched in London today against three years of occupation in Iraq and the threats of a military attack on Iran.

The demonstration, organised by the Stop the War Coalition, was young and lively – and marked by a determination to hold prime minister Tony Blair to account for his disastrous and criminal warmongering.

It brought together all strands of the anti-war movement, from peace campaigners through Iranian democracy activists to campaigners such as Ben Griffin, the former SAS officer who resigned from the British army in disgust at its actions in Iraq.

'Blair wants us to forget about the war, but I haven't forgotten,' said Abdul Khan, a young man from Walsall who travelled to London for the march with some 100 protesters from the town.

'They're now targeting Iran and Syria. They want to go on and on. Blair is guilty, though he won't admit it.'

The mood of anger against Blair was expressed in the response to speakers at the rally in Trafalgar Square that followed the march.

'A journalist asked me why this demonstration seemed to have a spring in its step,' said George Galloway, Respect MP for Bethnal Green & Bow.

'I told him it's because people across this country can sense that justice is coming for the war criminal Tony Blair.'

Galloway urged people to punish Blair at the local elections on 4 May – a link also drawn by Craig Murray, the human rights campaigner and former British ambassador to Uzbekistan.

'We need British troops out of Iraq – and Tony Blair out of Downing Street,' he said.

Opposing any threat of a military attack on Iran was another key element of the demonstration.

Elaheh Rostami Povey from Action Iran condemned the mainstream media for parroting Pentagon propaganda and called for people to campaign against any attacks or sanctions directed against the country by the US administration.

One highlight of the rally was the appearance of Sheik Zagani, foreign affairs spokesperson for Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical Iraqi political leader and Shia cleric.

He spoke of his happiness to see so many British people demonstrating against the occupation of Iraq.

And he made a special point of acknowledging the presence of Military Families Against the War on the platform.

'I send condolences in the name of most Iraqi people to the families of soldiers who have lost their lives in this unjust war,' he said.

'Iraqi people have no hatred against British people. This war is harming both people.

'Do not get tired of demonstrating and protesting. We are the voice of humanity, and we have to continue fighting.'

The vibrancy, size and political resolve of the Stop the War demonstration caps a terrible week for New Labour's warmongers.

If that spirit is taken to the picket lines on 28 March and the ballot box on 4 May, we can finally make Blair pay for the blood on his hands.

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Sat 18 Mar 2006, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1992
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