New sign at Brian Haw’s peace camp
Refreshed sign at Brian Haw’s peace camp
Guernica / Fallujah
Peace also takes courage
Ten thousand drops of blood in Parliament Square
Sign the call for a tribunal into the Iraq war
Queuing to join the march
Bush and Blair - guilty
Gagged but not silenced – Global Women’s Strike mobile PA
One of at least three samba bands
Worker-communist party of Iran
Boys out of Iraq – Blair out of office
Peter Tatchell and Outrage
Crowd shot #1
Crowd shot #2
The demonstration was called with the straplines “Troops home from Iraq” and “Don’t attack Iran”. The latest stop-the-war placard reflected this, being almost identical on both sides, saying “Not one more drop” with the word “Iran” on one side and “Iraq” on the other side. Some campaigners were wondering why they’d chosen to ignore Afghanistan when more UK troops are about to be sent there.
Other groups with their own messages included the Worker-communist party of Iran, opposing both the aggressive US approach to Iran and also the Islamic rulers of Iran. Peter Tatchell and others from Outrage were there, with placards such as “Don’t invade Iran, help Iranians topple Ayatollahs”, and an unnamed group brought the message that we must have sharing in order to bring justice in order to bring peace.
As well as various placards expressing hostility towards Tony Blair, there was a wealth of creative and artistic elements to the demo. There were at least three samba bands distributed through the march, and street theatre was provided in the form of Blair and Bush amusing themselves with a “usuable nuke”, before being “arrested” and pronounced guilty by “police” in body armour and two “judges” in flowing robes and silly wigs. Meanwhile, a contingent of marchers were dressed in orange overalls and linked by a long chain to highlight the people still held in legal no-mans-land in Guantanamo Bay.
Global Women’s Strike brought a mobile PA system with multiple microphones, which broadcast chanting, singing, poetry and other open-mic contributions. A Greek lady took the microphone to sing about her least favourite things, to the tune of “My Favourite Things”.
The Peace Tax Seven were present, with their own missile to highlight their campaign to object to funding war through taxation. http://www.peacetaxseven.com
Leon Kuhn brought his latest painting, of Bush and Condi Rice saying “play it again Sam”, and Uncle Sam playing a piano to a tune entitled “Iran”, recently changed from “Iraq”. http://www.leonkuhn.org.uk/anti-war.htm
Taped to the walls of Trafalgar Square were giant prints of a few of a series of “Stop” posters by Peter Kennard & Cat Picton Phillipps, which can be downloaded from http://22.214.171.124/eastinternational/artists/pages/kennard_&_phillipps.html
Tim Ireland’s Flash animation “The world according to Leo Blair” was reproduced in paper comic-strip format and displayed in various places around the Square. The original can be viewed at http://www.backingblair.co.uk/leo_blair and more of Tim’s work and thoughts can be found at http://www.bloggerheads.com
Milan Rai of Justice Not Vengance ( http://www.j-n-v.org ) was out promoting his new book “7/7: the London Bombings, Islam and the Iraq war”. Milan is currently on trial, being the first person to be prosecuted under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act for the new offence of organising an unauthorised protest in the no-protest zone around Parliament. See recent court report at http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2006/03/335983.html video interview with Maya Evans about the case at http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2006/03/336039.html
The layout of Trafalgar Square was different to previous occasions, with Nelson’s Column boarded up for unspecified maintenance, and the PA compound arranged on a set of steps up to the top half of the square instead. As this meant the PA compound took up a lot of the space where people normally stand or sit for a good view of the stage, this made it very difficult to find a place where I could both see and hear. Oh well, we can’t have everything, I suppose.