Thousands protest over war in Afghanistan


More than 10,000 anti-war protesters marched in London today calling for a withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

The demonstration ,which passed peacefully, gathered at Speakers Corner, Hyde Park, before marching to Trafalgar Square to hear speeches from servicemen, their families and campaigners.

Organisers Stop the War Coalition claim the war in Afghanistan is now unwinnable and are calling for the government to pull the 9,000 strong UK troops from the country.

The event was launched with a passionate speech by Lance Corporal Joe Glenton, who is facing a court martial for refusing to return to Afghanistan.

Addressing the crowds Lance Corporal Glenton, of the Royal Logistic Corps, said he been left with no choice but to desert.

He was joined by Peter Brierley, whose son Lance Corporal Shaun Brierley was killed in Iraq in 2003.

Brierley made the headlines last month when he refused to shake the hand of former prime minister Tony Blair at a ceremony for fallen servicemen.

The 59-year-old, from Batley, West Yorkshire, called for the government to recall all its troops in Afghanistan.

Brierley said: “They are not doing any good while they are over there.

“They need to leave the country to sort itself out.

“While the British troops are there they are actually bringing in insurgents who are coming in to fight.”

The UK’s oldest anti-war demonstrator Hetty Bowyer, 104, who joined the march, said: “I march because I can see no reason for further killing.

“I have walked on every march against us going to war. At my age there is not very much I can do but while my legs can carry me I am going to march.”

Politician and Stop the War Coalition president Tony Benn also attended despite recent ill-health.

The centre of London was temporarily brought to a standstill by the march but the event itself passed without incident, according to the Metropolitan police.

Some of the crowds chants included, “Gordon Brown, terrorist” and “What do we want, troops out”.

Today’s demonstration comes as a survey reveals that 84% of people believe the UK is losing the war against the Taliban.

The YouGov poll for Channel 4 News also found that nearly half of those asked thought the war was now unwinnable.

A spokesman for Stop the War Coalition said: “We estimate that about 10,000 attended today, which is a very good turn-out for us and shows the strength of feeling on this issue.

“The majority of people in Britain want the troops out of Afghanistan now.

“They know this war is unwinnable and unjustifiable.

“This demonstration gave a voice to that majority who say the troops must come home now.”

The government have been under mounting pressure to pull out of the country as a result of the rising death-toll and accusations soldiers are not being provided with sufficient equipment and resources to fight the insurgency.

Gordon Brown claims the war is vital to preventing terrorism attacks on home soil and has announced he may deploy a further 500 troops.

A spokesman for the MoD said: “It is vital to the UK that Afghanistan becomes a stable and secure state that is able to suppress violent extremism within its borders.

“Britain’s own security is at risk if we again allow Afghanistan to become a safe haven for terrorists, and that would be the result if Nato forces were to pull out of the country immediately.”

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Articles by: Global Research

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