‘Don’t Bomb Iraq–Don’t Attack Syria’

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Pouring rain didn’t deter youth on the march demanding an end to imperialist wars
Pouring rain didn’t deter youth on the march demanding an end to imperialist wars

‘DON’T bomb Iraq! Don’t attack Syria! – How can we fund a war when we can’t feed the poor!’ Shouted marchers in the pouring rain on the 3,000-strong march ‘Stop the War’ march in London on Saturday.

Sam Gittus had brought her two children to the march from East Sussex and told News Line: ‘The governments of Britain and the US are the worst terrorists – violence breeds violence.

‘Cameron and Obama should face war crimes charges. I want to teach my children that soldiers are not heroes.’

Val Collins came on her own from Runcorn near Liverpool and said: ‘I had to do something against this war!

‘Twelve days ago as I was in hospital and I couldn’t believe they would vote to bomb Iraq again. This ISIS are hardly going to be sitting around to be bombed, it’s all about the oil.

‘They’re not interested in going anywhere where there are no resources. Miliband is no better and I’ve supported Labour all my life.’

Student Sara Jones said: ‘This government is so short-sighted – killing innocent people won’t solve the problem.’

‘There has to be a diologue and an understanding why some young people look to a terrorist solution to their problems by joining ISIS. I’m against western involvement in the Middle East.’

Another student Nadine said: ‘This government have created a reason to attack Syria that they were denied last year. They have created, financed and armed an army to attack Syria to take its land , gas and power.

‘They want to replace Assad with a puppet like they have done in Iraq and Egypt and the other countries in the “Arab Spring”.

‘Instead of spending billions on weapons why don’t they close the Turkish border to terrorists instead of dropping bombs.’

Geoff Lange came up to the march with a group of friends from Portsmouth who were all critical of Cameron’s excuses for launching the war.

Geoff said: ‘I heard that this is an honourable one for a humanitarian cause. So why has the British government given millions of pounds to terrorists they are calling ‘”moderate”.’

Richard Shell who had travelled from Pontypridd said: ‘I think the reason for this war is to get troops on the ground to be in a position to attack Iran which is on their hit list.

‘They are underfunding and denigrating the NHS so they can privatise it. They are also closing down libraries and nurseries.’

Teresa Bacon from Weston Super-Mare brought her placard in support of Syria to the march.

She told News Line: ‘This war is an engineered conflict. Syria has been a peaceful country for 50 years since they liberated from French occupation.

‘They have welcomed thousands of Palestinian refugees and thousands of refugees from Bush and Blair’s war on Iraq. Now the Syrian people are having to flee their own country.

‘In 2009 the BBC showed a programme called “Syrian School” showing a country which was viable and tolerant of 26 different nationalities. When asked what their religion was they would say we are Syrian.

‘This government are the killers.’

Kurdish student Evci Bay told News Line: ‘This ISIS is being funded by Turkey, the US and the UK.

‘They are only worried because ISIS has got out of their control.

‘The Turkish government is stopping Turks and Kurds from going over their border to fight ISIS.

‘The British and American governments are only using the suffering of the Kurds as an excuse to invade Iraq and Syria. Turkish President Erdogan doesn’t want Kurds controlling the border with Syria.

‘I believe Turkish special forces and the far right are fighting alongside ISIS. The Kurdish fighters need modern weapons just as the ISIS forces have.’

Lisa Castagner from Streatham told News Line: ‘I went to the Free Palestine demonstration against Israel’s attack on Gaza because of the government’s silence towards Israel’s crimes.

‘Today I am here because of the opposite reponse of the government beating the drum for war on Iraq and Syria.’

At a rally opposite Downing Street Andrew Murray from Unite said: ‘ISIS is the latest pretext for imposing domination in the Middle East.

‘This government has been spending millions on the war at home and now is spending millions on the war abroad.’

The platform announced that the unions Unite and the NUT were officially supporting the ‘Stop the War Campaign’.

Alex Kenny from the NUT said: ‘You cannot bomb your way to bring peace, look what has happened to Libya. I say to Cameron where were you this summer when over 2,000 Palesinians were killed with over 500 children. You didn’t lift a finger – didn’t even stop selling Israel arms.’

Writer and jounalist Victoria Brittan told the rally: ‘Downing Street and the White House want us to believe never ending war is the “new now”.

‘In Iraq half a million children under five died due to sanctions, education and the health service have been destroyed. Don’t forget the lives lost by drone attacks on Yemen and Somalia.’

Iraqi speaker Sami Ramadani had a question for Cameron: ‘How Many more Iraqis do you want to kill, one and a half million children have died already?

‘Yesterday Joe Biden told Harvard University students that there was no existential treat to our way of life from ISIS – so why are they launching this criminal war? It is because 53% of oil and 45% of gas is in this region.

‘Also the biggest military base in the world is in the Middle East – it is called Israel.’

Mehmet Axlon from the UK Kurdish Assembly said: ‘One hundred years ago international powers divided the Kurdish people between four different states to prevent unity.’

A speaker from Sinn Feinn addressed the rally saying: ‘Across Europe one hundred and sixty billion euros is spent on the military whist people are living in poverty.

‘In the north of Ireland we are blocking welfare cuts and opposing this Tory war.’

• See photo gallery for more pictures.