Arrived at the Council House to find Tony Benn speaking to a crowd of some 100+ people outside the Council House. The booked hall was full and this was the overflow. Full marks to the Council employees that opened up a second hall which which also filled quickly. There were about 700 people filling 2 halls.
Tony Benn, speaking outside the Council House mentioned the link between the pensions crisis and the cost of pursuing the Iraq war. Benn discussed Fallujah advising that it is the size of Cardiff and that the allied attack on Fallujah should be considered an atrocity.
In the overflow hall, Caroline Lucas of the Green Party spoke first. She said that we must refuse to allow political leaders (referring to Blair) to get away with what amounts to a war crime. "Never before has a Prime Minister lied consistently ... no wmd ... no weapons programmes ... no threat." The message from this meeting should be "no more lies, ... end the occupation ... Blair must go." Since Blair has not resigned and refused to take responsibility for his lies then we should support calls to have him impeached.
Caroline Lucas continued - demand Blair's impeachment for war crimes, end of occupation of Iraq, a full public inquiry, an end to the illegal detention of prisoners at Guantanamo and Belmarsh. She went on to warn Home Secretary Charles Clarke "don't even think about home detention". We're not having it.
Caroline Lucas discussed Fallujah stating that she had visited shortly before the war. She discussed Paul Bremmer's order no. 81 which prohibits Iraqi farmers that they must not save seed and must buy GM seed. It should be recognised that the military and corporate invasion of Iraq has taken place togrther.
Caroline Lucas said that she discussed health with Iraqi doctors and nurses. Should be recognised that future generations are poisoned. They told her of a 700% increase in cancer and leukemia since the first gulf war, women are afraid to get pregnant due to the huge incidence of still births and deformities. Discussed depleted uranium and cluster bombs.
Caroline Lucas also called for an end to the illegal occupation of Palestine.
(paraphrased Lucas). Need to show Blair and the Neo-Cons that yoy cannot uphold international law by breaking it, that you cannot bomb your way to peace.
Ed Cherry, a former soldier representing Families for peace spoke. John Ress of STW Coaliition nationally spoke emphasising need to attend the rally on 19th March.
Lou of Bristol STW spoke emphasing need to attend on 19th March.
Bristol activist Margaret Jones invited people to the camp at R.A.F. Brize Norton 21 April (for the Queen's birthday). RAF Brize Norton is the base that soldiers leave from to Iraq. Intention is gentle persuasion and contact.