‘THE GREATER Manchester Coalition to Stop the War is coordinating an antiwar demonstration on 8 March. This will involve three separate marches converging on the city centre. On the city centre stall on Saturday 5,000 leaflets and hundreds of posters were distributed.
Local Stop the War groups are already working on activities to build the demo, such as leafleting every house on a ward by ward basis. We are encouraging everyone to get organised in their neighbourhood, college, school or workplace.
In Chorlton a weekly Friday protest at the main crossroads is attracting up to 100 people. In Bury following a motorcade through the town anti-war campaigners rallied in the town centre on Saturday and then went off to leaflet and petition, building for the 8 March Manchester demo.’
Richard Searle, Mark Krantz and Geoff Brown
‘OVER 2,000 anti-war protesters marched through the centre of Winchester last Saturday. The demonstration was organised by local church and Muslim groups, and led by the Bishop of Winchester, Michael Scott-Joynt, and the city’s Liberal Democrat MP, Mark Oaten.’
‘AT SOAS college in London University the Unison staff union has agreed ‘to support those members who feel morally obligated to leave work and join the demonstration in London if war starts’.
We will be holding meetings to discuss how to build for other actions in the coming weeks, as well as how to translate that resolution into action.’
‘HEALTH WORKERS at Selly Oak and Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham are ready for further action. We have been petitioning and leafleting at lunchtimes to build our local demonstration in Birmingham on Saturday. We are also collecting names of people prepared to begin civil disobedience by protesting at the hospital gates should bombing go ahead.’
‘OVER 400 people marched through Plymouth last Saturday against war. Traffic was brought to a standstill when marchers sat down across the major highway. Protesters included a large contingent from Plymouth University.
Two organisers of the march were arrested and held for seven hours. Both have been charged. Following the arrests the march went to the police station and sat down, closing off the main route through the city. A major protest was planned outside Plymouth magistrates’ court on Wednesday when the protesters are due to appear.’
‘MORE THAN 650 people attended a Stop the War public meeting at Dewsbury Town Hall last Saturday. Labour MP Mike Wood joined local councillors in condemning the warmongering of the Blair administration.’
‘BIRMINGHAM SCHOOL Students Against the War are organising school walkouts across the city by asking students to sign a petition declaring an intent to protest in this manner against the start of any bombing of Iraq.’
‘IN BARRY, South Wales, young people have been campaigning solidly against the war drive. Last Thursday we dropped a banner reading ‘Drop Bush not Bombs’ at a busy roundabout. We have also been leafleting and arguing the case against war.’
‘WE HAVE formed a small anti-war group in the development planning unit at Bartlett, University College London. Our department is a multinational one – we have 36 different nationalities (there are only 65 students in this unit) – so hopefully we can do something.’
‘WE HAVE decided to build smaller, more local groups by holding meetings in supporters’ front rooms. There were immediate results. At one meeting supporters suggested we picket the next surgery of our MP, Tessa Jowell. Last Saturday we went down one street and in only ten minutes over 20 windows were showing ‘Don’t attack Iraq’ posters.’
Dulwich Stop the War
‘AROUND 25 people met in Wakefield last Thursday to plan further action against the threat of war. We agreed to call a local demo in Wakefield for Saturday 8 March. We agreed to plan for local action if and when war breaks out.’
Wakefield Stop the War Coalition
‘WE WERE having our first meeting since the national demo in Kensington and Paddington on Wednesday. To be discussed are regular stalls and the distribution of leaflets. We will also be lobbying our MP this weekend.’
‘AT THE Leeds Stop the War Coalition meeting last Monday everyone shared stories about the demo and talked about what we should do next. There were more new faces, and quite a long discussion about the call for mass civil disobedience and the possibility of a general strike. A follow-up protest in Leeds city centre was planned. Harehills Stop the War planned to lobby the surgery of George Mudie, MP for East Leeds, on Friday.
The Headingley group held its first meeting last week – 15 people met to plan future activities in the area, including a showing of the Not In My Name video, and a public meeting.
At Leeds University students were to assemble at the university and march to the city centre to join Thursday’s protest as well as organising a university anti-war day of protest on 5 March.’
Paula Champion, Katie Wheatley, Annemarie Piso and Vasilis Zoumpos
‘I HAVE been campaigning for peace and freedom for nearly 50 years, and 15 February was mind-boggling. We must keep up the pressure. We should demonstrate in our communities, with regular vigils or marches in every small or large town, even sit-downs in appropriate places. In Cornwall we have St Mawgan, an American air base.’
Peter Le Mare
‘AT A public meeting on 18 February those who went to the London demo and other supporters decided to extend the anti-war effort in the area by continuing the regular high street stall and organising a series of public meetings and events.’
‘IN BLACKBURN two coaches went to London and there was a big anti-war meeting a week before attended by 600 people. We are now trying to organise events in Blackburn College with the help of staff support workers. Blackburn will make sure that we do everything in our power to stop war.’
‘WE WILL occupy Bournemouth Square every Saturday from 1pm to 3pm. We are also organising a march and rally for 15 March.’
Bournemouth Stop the War Coalition
‘ISLINGTON STOP War Coalition met last Thursday. The main focus will be to prepare for mass civil disobedience, including walkouts, demonstrations and college occupations in the event of war.’
‘WE WILL protest against Oxford MP Andrew Smith next Friday. Oxford Brookes University students are also arranging a ‘Party for Peace’.’
‘WE HAVE called a south west march for Saturday 15 March in Exeter. We have also made plans to respond to any attack on Iraq with protests in the city. If a war is declared we are urging people to leave their workplaces and show that any war is ‘not in their name’.’
‘WE ARE lobbying Barry Sheerman MP’s surgery on Friday. Local trade unionists are raising the question of walkouts. Local sixth form colleges – Greenhead, Huddersfield Tech and New College – are having walkouts from lectures next week.’
‘IN SCOTLAND as well as the massive demo in Glasgow on 15 February there were simultaneous protests in various parts of the Highlands and Islands by people who could not make the journey. For example, 300 assembled at short notice in Inverness before a spontaneous march through the town centre. In order to give Highlanders an opportunity to properly express their feelings there is a Highlands – wide march called in Inverness on Saturday 15 March.’
‘LAST FRIDAY we lobbied Telford Labour MP David Wright against war. Protesters included a Labour Party member with his membership card stapled to a home-made petition against the war. We will be lobbying Wrekin Labour MP Peter Bradley this Friday.’
‘WALTHAM FOREST Stop the War group has attracted more people in the wake of the demo. A local demonstration was planned for Friday.’
‘ON 19 February Sheffield Stop the War Coalition held a convention attended by over 150 people to plan more action. The convention decided to organise for a Sheffield demonstration on 8 March. Local groups will be marching from over ten assembly points around the city to the centre, joining the main demonstration outside City Hall. Sheffield council has already passed a motion opposing the war. This march will put further pressure on our ‘representatives’, especially ministers Blunkett and Caborn.’
‘WE ARE moving to set up local groups in Cambridge. One group at Hills Road Sixth Form Centre plans a lunchtime meeting which may turn into a walkout or teach-in. Other groups now starting include one at a local Catholic school and one at the other main sixth form. Post workers and council workers already have groups.’
‘OVER 400 people attended a protest at the US base at Fairford in Gloucestershire last Sunday. They forced open the main gates and some managed to enter the base where the B-2 Stealth bombers are based.’
‘SOUTH WALES Stop the War Coalition has an organising meeting next Wednesday. In Swansea we were organising a big protest outside the Welsh Labour Party conference on Friday. The Campaign Against the Arms Trade was planning a protest on Saturday.
In Cardiff we are having a meeting to discuss a plan of action. At Cardiff University a group of students are talking about an emergency general meeting to plan an occupation when war starts. Blackwood Stop the War Coalition has a meeting on Monday. We have a protest arranged on the day war starts. We are looking to have stalls in Blackwood and other towns such as Newbridge and Tredegar.’
Teresa Goss, Huw Williams and Adam Johannes
‘THINGS HAVE really taken off for the Sedgemoor Peace Group since we organised transport for the 15 February march in London. We have leafleted shopping centres in Bridgwater, Burnham-on-Sea and Cheddar.
We were unable to book enough coaches to satisfy demand for the London demo but still managed to take over 150 people. We have started a Saturday peace vigil in Bridgwater.’
‘OUR WEST Somerset group was formed on 1 February. In just two weeks we booked and filled two coaches from Minehead. Future plans include a coach trip to Fairford on 22 March to join the protest there.’
‘OVER 200 supporters took buses from Sherwood to London. Window posters are now being distributed for the local Nottingham demo on 8 March as well as a leaflet about what to do if war starts. A banner and placard making day has been arranged for Saturday. This all follows our first Stop the War meeting in Sherwood last Tuesday.’
‘LONDON FIRE Authority Unison’s annual general meeting last week voted to call a lunchtime protest on the day war breaks out.’
‘SATURDAY 8 March is International Women’s Day. This year it looks likely to take place while our government and the US will be bombing Iraq. Globalise Resistance Scotland is inviting everyone to take part in an anti-war event outside the RAF air base in Leuchars, north east Fife, on this day. The RAF Leuchars air base in north east Fife has been involved in the bombing of Iraq since 1991. The Tornadoes sent from here are crucial to the UK mobilisation for war.’
‘WYCOMBE GROUP will now have a stall in High Wycombe town centre every Saturday. We made plans for protests in the event of war breaking out, and we’re setting up a public meeting.’
‘AFTER AN impromptu meeting after the 15 February demonstrations, lecturers and researchers at Liverpool University have called a meeting to launch a group. We will show the Not In My Name video and then have a practical discussion about activities.’
‘THE WEE island of Bute, now also known as the Isle of Discontent, situated in the Clyde Estuary, is 20 miles from Coulport, Britain’s home to over 200 nuclear warheads. The Bute Coalition for Peace not War has hosted several public meetings. Some 80 people, young and old, sailed on the ferry to the Glasgow demo. We are now also holding weekly vigils. We are now calling for non-violent civil disobedience, with some suggesting that we blockade the harbour to disrupt the ferry timetables.’
Phil, Bute Coalition
‘A PROTEST against the war was held in Burnley last Friday at the busiest rush-hour junction. This junction is taken over by some of us who live or work close to it, but we hope to see more junctions taken over, organised by other people in the same way.’
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