An audience of 900 people in Sheffield heard veteran Labour left-winger Tony Benn warn that “war with Iran could be the beginning of a Third World War.”
The rally was called by Sheffield Stop the War to publicise the Time To Go demonstration outside the Labour Party conference in Manchester on Saturday.
Benn also stressed the need for a just solution in Palestine, created by a withdrawal of Israel from occupied areas, to help to bring about peace in the region. He said: “This is the first generation that has the technology at its disposal to destroy the human race with chemical, nuclear and biological weapons.
“It is also the first generation in human history that has the capacity to solve the problems of humanity, to build houses and schools all over the world. The choice we have to make is how we use the technology. That is a moral and political choice.'
Lindsey German, national convenor of the Stop the War coalition, spoke of the need to continue to demonstrate against Bush and Blair’s wars. She spoke of the massive impact of the anti-war movement on the government and said that people in Palestine, Lebanon, Baghdad and Kabul would know that thousands were demonstrating against Bush and Blair’s war on Saturday.
Musheir el-Farra of Sheffield Palestine Solidarity campaign said: “We must be aware of what is happening in Palestine. The racist lies of Israel are being repeated forcefully. One of the biggest lies is equating Palestinian resistance with political radicalism. The issue is simple - the occupation destroys our human rights. If the occupation stops the resistance ends. Problem solved.”
He called for people to join the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign in establishing links with Palestinians, particularly children. His group supports five children’s centres in the Gaza Strip.
An additional 52 people signed up for coaches to the Time To Go demonstration. £2,400 was raised towards the cost of the coaches.
On Tuesday a group of walkers set off on the People’s March for Peace to Manchester. This Friday at 2pm the Bikes not Bombs ride sets off from the Peace Gardens and the Access Warriors team of runners leave from outside Sheffield Town Hall at 5.15pm the same day.
Tickets are still available for Sheffield coaches. Call 07761 471441 to book. Go to www.stopwar.org.uk for national details
For full coverage of the demonstration go to Reports and video of Manchester Time to Go demonstration