50-60,000 People Demonstrate In Manchester, UK
Police presence was strong but it was clear many police officers were in support of the demonstration, making a refreshing change.
by: Michael Meaney
Despite MSM reports of just 10,000, over 50,000 activists, politicians, religious groups and members of the public gathered in Manchester today, to demonstrate against the criminal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to also call for British Prime Minister Tony Blair to step down.
Organised by Stop the war Coalition, CND, BMI and MAB, and supported by Islam Channel, Friends of Al Aqsa, CWU, PCS, NUJ, TGWU, RMT, BECTU, UCU, we marched from Albert Square, through Lower Mosley Street to Deansgate and back to Albert Square via Cross Street.
A "Die-in" took place at G-Mex Centre at around 2:30pm, where the Labour Conference is taking place, we laid down on the road to symbolise the appalling carnage resulting from Bush and Blair's illegal war in Iraq. The entire march went ahead without any problems and remained peaceful at all times. Police presence was strong but it was clear many police officers were in support of the demonstration, making a refreshing change.
Back at Albert Square, Labour MP Michael Meacher took to the stage where he told how the British Government is fuelling the war in Iraq rather than trying to stop it. He mentioned there is absolutely NO public support for a military attack on Iran (who are one of the most peaceful nations on this planet, a sentiment also felt by RINF columnist, Stephen Lendman). Interestingly Meacher did not shy away from describing the Neo-con agenda... this was also reflected by other speakers who spoke of the Project for the New American Century. (See: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article1665.htm)
Also on stage, Tony Benn gave a passionate speech about the false war on Terror and how fear is used to manipulate / condition public opinion. He stated that in his lifetime he has seen movements become successful, for example, the Apartheid and Suffragettes. Ben noted "this is the first generation in history that could destroy the human race but also the first generation able to solve its problems". Inspiring to say the least.
George Galloway in usual fashion, stated how Tony Blair and Gordon Brown are "two cheeks of the same arsehole", he also compared Blair's relationship to Bush as that of Monica Lewinsky's to Bill Clinton.
Many other speakers had their say during the rally, all demanding an end to these terrible wars, for the sake of the thousands of lives lost already and for future generations. Warnings of an inevitable attack on Iran, was also hot topic of the day.
For such a sensitive and emotional subject, the day was thoroughly positive and even humorous in parts. The Stop the war movement should be incredibly proud of itself and all those who attended, it has set an example of how to organise a peaceful and positive movement which is sending a strong message and is creating real change. The movement seems very clear and focused, knows what it wants to achieve and understand how to get it. It's clear why many movements around the country are trying to mimic and attach themselves to Stop the war. Not that it's a bad thing, if it's done right.
The movement has the facts, the morality and the credibility to become even stronger, the longer these atrocious crimes are being committed by a small cabal of power hungry neo-con hawks, bent on blood for profit.
Overall, the demonstration was a fantastic reflection of true public opinion, organised and executed without a (noticeable) hitch. I came away feeling empowered, yet knowing I can do more, and inspired to become more active. I imagine the tens of thousands of people who took the time to stand up and be counted, from all walks of life, cultures, religions and backgrounds, also feel the same as me.
add a comment on this article
add a comment on this article