General strike to stop the war in Syria and stop the austerity at home!

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Syrians in the UK voicing support for their president Bashar Assad
Syrians in the UK voicing support for their president Bashar Assad

OVER 1,500 people demonstrated outside Downing Street at short notice on Wednesday evening against imminent war on Syria.

The demonstration, called by the Stop the War Coalition, ended with several holding a sit-down protest and blocking Whitehall.

News Line spoke to some of the demonstrators.

RMT assistant general secretary Steve Hedley said: ‘We’re here to protest against imperialist barbarism and the impending attack on Syria.

‘The trade union movement has to take a stand against this government and the craven Labour Party and their imperialist masters in Washington.

‘No good will come of this, it will only make matters worse

‘A general strike is necessary to bring this government down and stop the austerity at home and imperialist adventures overseas.

‘How can they find £1 million per missile and not be able to feed and house people in this country?’

C H Sam from Turkey told News Line: ‘This is a copycat of 2003 when they invaded Iraq.

‘If we don’t protest over Syria, next will be Turkey, later Iran.

‘This is self-glorious, self-righteous imperialism.’

An NHS admin worker Denise Mortimer told News Line: ‘I just feel people are acting on my behalf without my permission and contributing to even more damage in a country that is in crisis.

‘We should be helping the children and refugees, not bombing the country.’

Mel Fardouee added: ‘I feel very strongly because I’m from the Middle East.

‘I have seen my friends and family from Iran and neighbouring countries suffering because of imperialist greed.

‘The imperialists are after our resources.

‘America has no care at all for the rights of human beings.

‘The American government must be questioned because of the innocent people who have lost their lives in these unnecessary wars.

‘The UN should veto America, the UK and France.

‘The veto of America, ,France and the UK should be abolished – they do whatever they want.’

Amani J, a Syrian MA student, had come up from Cardiff.

She said: ‘I have one message for Cameron.

‘When you can’t justify why you don’t have funds to build libraries in your own country, how can you justify taking taxpayers’ money to pay £1 million for each cruise missile you want to hit Syria with?

‘We’re calling on Cameron to not repeat Tony Blair’s mistake ten years ago in going to war in Iraq.

‘Stop wrecking our countries!’

Labour MP Diane Abbot told the crowd: ‘Such a war would not be legal, such a war will not solve anything.

‘If the answer is American intervention, they asked the wrong question.

‘I will not be voting for this war.

‘All of us must come together and say Hands Off Syria!’

Iraqi Sami Ramadani declared defiantly: ‘No matter how many bombs they drop, the Syrian people, the Iraqi people, Iran, the Lebanon and Egypt will teach them a lesson.

Lindsey German of Stop the War told the rally: ‘Imperialist powers do not change.

‘That is why they are going to war.

‘The US used Agent Orange in Vietnam, white phosphorus in Fallujah, they sold chemical weapons to Saddam Hussein.

‘They are saying they are going to produce evidence of chemical weapons used by Assad, we should be suspicious of their claims.

‘Colin Powell said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, that was a lie.

‘Every time they go to war, they spend billions and make more cuts.

‘Well we’re fed up with austerity, we’re fed up with this government.

‘And we’re fed up with Labour, it’s time they showed some opposition.

‘When Kerry goes on the TV and says he’s opposed to chemical weapons, there’s a stench of hypocrisy.’

The RMT’s Steve Hedley, speaking at the rally, asked: ‘I wonder if the human rights of the people of Palestine will be considered.

‘Public services and the NHS are being decimated.

‘But they don’t have it all their own way, we hear Mr Miliband has changed his spots.’

Speaking to News Line after the rally Abdulai Jobe from Gambia, who lives and works in Britain, said: ‘I’m supporting the anti-war efforts.

‘I’m opposed to the war being prepared against Syria.

‘I don’t think this government should spend taxpayers’ money fighting an unjust war, a war in which we have no business.

‘Given our experiences in Libya and Afghanistan, this is very bad.

‘This war should not take place.

‘The trade union movement should take a very active part in fighting against the preparation for war.

‘The Labour Party, the Green Party and the Liberal Party should oppose it.

‘The TUC should call a general strike to bring the government down.’

Sarah, a medical secretary said: ‘I feel strongly against attacking Syria.

‘I’ve been there in the past. It’s a lovely place.

‘It’s tragic what’s happened there already.

‘I don’t for a moment believe what Cameron and Kerry are telling us.

‘It’s completely implausible.

‘I don’t think chemical weapons are the reason for war on Syria.

‘It’s really obvious if the West gets involved more people will die – people in Syria, people in other countries in the Middle East and UK soldiers.

‘You wonder how they’ve got to go to war.’

Susan Edwards, an academic from London, said: ‘I’m here because the voice of people of my generation is important.

‘Our press is craven to financial interests and is not independent.

‘The debate can never be properly had in this country because Ofcom has removed licenses from all alternative voices like Press TV.

‘The British public are robbed of a balanced view.

‘Of course we shouldn’t go to war on Syria.

‘This government is hypocritical – it talks of human rights.

‘It’s not concerned. It’s about about oil interests and imperialism.

‘The unions can take the government on, we need bolder journalists, it’s a dirty game that’s being played.

‘They talk about chemical weapons and yet they get into bed with al Qaeda!’