Socialist Worker

15 March - next stop for the anti-war movement

by Esme Choonara
Published Tue 29 Jan 2008
Issue No. 2086

The Stop the War Coalition, along with CND and the British Muslim Initiative, has called a national anti-war demonstration in London on Saturday 15 March.

This is part of an international day of action to mark the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.

Stop the War groups across Britain are organising meetings and events to build for the demonstration.

Transport is already booked from many towns and cities. A World Against War tour has been organised to bring key speakers from the global movement to audiences across Britain.

Many groups say the demonstration has given a new focus to their activities and is pulling in a new layer of campaigners.

Organised

In Stoke-on-Trent activists organised their first Stop the War meeting for many years. Simon Halstead, one of the organisers, told Socialist Worker, “Around 25 people came to our meeting – a mixture of new students and longer standing activists.

“Most people at the meeting left contact details to get involved in activity. There are lots of things that we can do to raise awareness and spread the message.

“Whatever else we do, the focus in the next few weeks will be filling a coach to get people to the demonstration on 15 March.”

Stop the War is calling on groups to use 15 February – the anniversary of the largest demonstration ever seen in Britain, when two million marched in London against the war – to hold local protests, vigils, film

showings and banner drops. These can help to build for the national demonstration.

In London Tony Benn will be among a group of campaigners who marched in 2003 – and will be marching against the war again this year – who are taking a letter to Downing Street to hand in to Gordon Brown, demanding that he bring the troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

In Manchester both the city and student groups have plans for events on 15 February. Manchester university student Sundara Jerome told Socialist Worker, “Lots of students remember the huge demonstrations of 15 February 2003.

Inspired

“Many of us were on that demonstration. There are also lots of people who wished they were there or who were inspired by the march to get involved in the movement. They can see that we are still on the streets five years on and are joining us.

“We are planning to mark 15 February by organising a mock funeral into the city centre. We are trying to make it visual and eye-catching.

“We are going to use this to publicise the demo on 15 March and sell tickets for the coaches.”


Stop the War in Scotland has also called a demonstration on 15 March in Glasgow.

Students in Glasgow have planned a calendar of events to build up to the demonstration, including turning 15 February into a day of anti-war activities on the theme of Make Love Not War.

They are also holding a student dayschool at Strathclyde university on 16 February and organising a fundraising event Words Against War on 17 February with writers Tom Leonard, Liz Lochead, Alistair Gray and others.

Students are also supporting civil rights lawyer Aamer Anwar as an anti-war candidate for rector of Glasgow university.

For details of transport and meetings go to » www.stopwar.org.uk


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Tue 29 Jan 2008, 19:22 GMT
Issue No. 2086
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