Billboards around the country have been subtly subvertised to display anti-war messages calling for the troops to be brought home and for Tony Blair to be prosecuted. As the imperialist occupation enters its ninth year, a YouGov survey found 62% of the public want British troops pulled out this year and 48% think that victory is impossible. Countless thousands of Afghans have perished and many Western soldiers have gone to Afghanistan, only to come home in body bags.
On Saturday 24th October, thousands of people gathered in central London to protest against the continuing conflict. Organisers, 'Stop The War Coalition', claimed there is growing resentment among the lower ranks who feel locked into a military occupation with no clear justification or exit strategy. Soldiers and their families joined the estimated 5,000 marchers who gathered in Hyde Park.
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Subvertised - appeal for the living
You know something is amiss when even the top brass in the military seem on an almost weekly basis now are seen to be breaking the usual protocols and going on the record in the press to say that they cannot win the campaign in Afghanistan. Something is really amiss when you have soldiers going AWOL and joining anti war demonstrations in London!
Lance Corporal Joe Glenton defied orders to become the first serving soldier to address a national anti-war rally. His statement read, "When I went to Afghanistan I was proud to serve the Army and to serve my country, but before long I realised the government was using the Army for its own ends. It is distressing to disobey orders, but when Britain follows America in continuing to wage war against one of the world's poorest countries I feel I have no choice. Politicians have abused the trust of the Army and the soldiers who serve."
Another veteran on the demo was Paul McGuirk, a 25 year old who served in Helmand but left the Army because he could not support the war in Afghanistan. "I just left the Army last month because I think it's ridiculous we are there. I think the government should stop pretending it's a just war and wasting the lives of our guys, and stop pretending it's a winnable war.", he said.
Joan Humphreys, a 62-year-old from Dundee said, "My grandson was killed 54 days ago on 31 August in Afghanistan. Nothing's going to be achieved." Joan's grandson, 24-year-old Kevin Elliott, was one of the 222 British soldiers killed since the invasion began on 7th October 2001.
On the eve of the march, peace activists in Cambridge used lanterns placed on Parkers Piece to spell out the phrase "END THE WAR NOW".
IMC UK Features