Don’t Bomb Syria! Many Thousands Protest
against Proposed Military Intervention
Mass protests took place yesterday, Saturday, November 28, in London and many other cities across the country in a national day of action demanding that the government not conduct air-strikes against Syria.
The London demonstration was a sea of “Don’t Bomb Syria” placards, as from five to ten thousand protesters took to the streets to make their voices heard in a rally organised by the Stop the War Coalition.
The demonstration took place in Whitehall opposite Downing Street, and was a very serious and considered gathering. As well as condemning the government, the rally called on all MPs to vote against war when the government’s motion is put before Parliament.
“We are very much opposed to David Cameron’s plans to have a vote in Parliament to bomb Syria. The bombing has already been going on for more than a year by other forces. ISIS is as strong as it was before the bombing started and also we have the record of 14 years of bombing, and every single country we have bombed, the wars are still going on there,” said Lindsey German, Convenor of Stop the War, during the demonstration.
Labour MP Diane Abbott addressed the demonstration, saying that Prime Minister Cameron was too busy trying to phone Labour MPs to get them to vote in favour of bombing Syria to make a concrete case for undertaking military action.
Musicians, politicians, academics and artists, including Brian Eno and Frankie Boyle, had written a letter to David Cameron urging him not to bomb Syria, saying a bombing campaign would not help in the fight against terrorism, but would rather aggravate the situation.
“Rather than ignoring this recent history by joining the long list of countries that have bombed Syria in the last year, we urge the government to stop arming reactionary and aggressive regimes like Saudi Arabia and Qatar that sponsor terrorist groups and look for political solutions as the only viable way to end the conflict,” the letter read, which was delivered to 10 Downing Street.
Brian Eno told the demonstration, “We’ve created a system which gives the biggest rewards to the greediest and worst to the most generous.” He also condemned Saudi Arabia and Turkey for helping to fund Islamic State. George Galloway pointed out that Turkey admitted being a supporter of ISIL and a main purchaser of oil from them. Britain is the main arms suppliers to Saudi Arabia, he said, who are financiers of ISIL. Two young women from NUS spoke eloquently, particularly on opposing increasing Islamophobia and racism. Chair of CND Kate Hudson spoke on the importance of supporting Jeremy Corbyn and the anti-war movement. Other speakers condemned the use of violence to resolve political problems.
In a day of action in South Shields, north-east England, activists of South Tyneside Stop the War Coalition distributed hundreds of leaflets with the title Cameron Wants Bombing and War – Not a Solution to the Terrorism He Helped Create. A lot of discussion took place with people who wanted to express their anger at Cameron’s plan to once again take Britain to war in the Middle East. The day of action was important as part of creating public opinion against military intervention, with many people saying they will lobby their MP.
Demonstrations also took place in Manchester, Leeds, Bradford, Oxford, Bristol and other cities around the country.