By Tomáš Tengely-Evans
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Wave of protests brings anti-war mood onto the streets in anger

This article is over 7 years, 11 months old
Issue 2483
Demonstration in Manchester on Wednesday of last week
Demonstration in Manchester on Wednesday of last week (Pic: Mark Krantz)

Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets against Britain joining another war in the Middle East.

Activists were building for a national demonstration in central London this Saturday.

Lucinda Wakefield, from Sheffield Stop the War, told Socialist Worker, “Our demonstration on the night of the vote was very lively and angry.

“We’ve now got links with other groups in Sheffield who we’re working with to get coaches down to London.”

Around 400 joined a Stop the War rally in Friends Meeting House in central London last Saturday.Many young people new to campaigning brought their placards from previous protests.

Ismail is a sixth form student in west London. He told Socialist Worker, “I’ll be going to as many protests against the war as I can.

“We’ve been going round my sixth form talking to people and putting up posters for the demonstration.”

“I’ve not been involved before, but I thought now is the time to stand up and do something. “

Seb, a college student, added, “It’s totally disgusting what they’re doing—we just have to get more involved.”

Up to 500 people marched in Nottingham, where there had been reported Islamophobic attacks.

Around 2,000 people joined a demonstration in Bristol on the night of the vote—and were set to march again on Wednesday of this week.

“The demo is looking very big already,” said Unison union member Huw Williams from Bristol. “It’s been called by the same network of sixth form students who organised the demos after Tories got in.”

The protests are reigniting Stop the War groups. Huw added, “We’ve had a lot of support from local people on the march—there’s definitely a strong anti-war mood.”

In Manchester 2,000 people marched on the night of the vote, the city’s second anti-war protest in a week. Hundreds marched there again last Saturday.

Activist Mark Krantz said people stopped their shopping and got off buses to join the demonstration. “People are now signing up for the coaches despite it being so close to the holidays,” he said.

Birmingham already has two coaches booked—including one from the one of the mosques.

And Scotland has already had three demonstrations in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Polls show the war is unpopular. The protests are our chance to turn that mood into active opposition.

Airstrikes begin after MPs vote for imperialist war on Syria

Protesters in London on the eve of the vote

Protesters in London on the eve of the vote (Pic: Guy Smallman)

British RAF fighters have launched waves of airstrikes on Syria since MPs voted by 397 to 223 for war on Wednesday of last week.

Tornados took off from British military base Akrotiri in Cyprus just hours after the vote. A further eight jets were sent to join the four already bombing.

Our rulers talk of “bombing Isis”—not bombing Syria.

The media reported how Russian bombs had killed a five year old girl in the north western town of Habeet last Saturday.

But just as in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, British bombs will kill ordinary people.

As MPs voted for Britain to join a new imperialist war around 3,000 people took the road outside parliament. The protest and mass die-in was organised by the Stop the War Coalition.

Anger erupted through the crowd as the news came in and chants of “Shame on you” and “No Justice no Peace” rang out. “They are murderers who are killing Muslims,” said Palestinian Nazra.

David Cameron smeared anyone who disagreed as a “terrorist sympathiser”. But one protester’s chant of “David Cameron—terrorist” rippled through the crowd.

Cameron said bombing was about “keeping the British public safe”. And shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn claimed it was about the fight against “fascism”.

This helped justify the 66 Labour MPs who supported the Tories after leader Jeremy Corbyn called a free vote (see page 7).

In reality, the war is about keeping Britain’s place alongside the other imperialist powers.

Former Tory foreign secretary Lord Hague said that Syria’s borders weren’t “immutable” and might need to be “subdivided”.

He wants Britain to be part of an imperialist carve up of the region.

The Tories are buoyed by the large majority in parliament. But opposition to our rulers’ new war in the Middle East can be built in the streets.

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