More than 2,000 people marched through London in the driving rain today, Saturday, against the bombing of Iraq.
British planes are now targetting Iraq as part of a US-led war that also includes airstrikes in Syria.
Indira, a protester from east London told Socialist Worker, “I’m here to oppose all their war efforts.”
The demonstration was called by Stop the War Coalition. Protesters marched towards Downing Street, including a lively student block.
Lee, a student at King’s College London, said “I’m old enough to have marched against the last Iraq war—now I’m having to do it again.”
Anti-war activists travelled from different towns and cities, including a coachload from Cardiff.
Ramon Corria, secretary of Cardiff trades council told Socialist Worker, “I’m appalled that we’re bombing Iraq again.
“It’s important that trade unionists stand up against this war—we are the biggest mass movement in the country.”
Adam Johannes, Cardiff Stop the War secretary, added, “The arguments are more complex this time than when Britain and the US invaded Iraq in 2003.
“It’s more like when we started opposing the invasion of Afghanistan, and at first the demonstrations were small. But we built the movement then and we can do it now”.
Outside Downing Street protesters held a rally.
Lindsey German from the Stop the War coalition said this demonstration was just the start of building opposition to the new war.
“The government is embarking on a third Iraq war, when we haven’t even heard report of the Chillcot Inquiry into the second war on Iraq,” she said.
Iraqi socialist Sami Ramadani asked, “David Cameron, how many more Iraqis do you want to kill? How many more wars in the Middle East do you want to launch?”
Aaron Kiely from NUS national executive pointed out Western leaders’ hypocrisy, “If we can find the money to kill people why can’t we find the money to help people.”
Jeremy Corbyn MP said to loud applause, “I was one of the 45 MPS that voted no. It didn’t make sense the first or the second time, and it doesn’t make sense now.”
Alex Kenny brought solidarity from the NUT teachers’ union, and author Victoria Brittain blasted the government’s agenda of scapegoating Muslims.
There also speakers from the UK Kurdish Council, the People’s Assembly and the Green Party, among others.
Huw Williams of South Gloucestershire Unison spoke in a personal capacity about the hypocrisy of a government that went to war while preaching austerity.
“There are two wars going on—one on the people of Iraq and one on the people of Britain. They’re being waged by the same people,” he said.
“If this war cost nothing it would still be wrong, but it’s costing billions while the NHS is being cut. It would be fantastic if we could all make it down to the picket lines on 13 October NHS strike.”
He also criticised the Labour leadership’s support for war, and added to cheers,
“There isn’t opposition in Parliament, so we have to build opposition in the streets”.
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