Stop the War stopped Manchester this afternoon. In typical Manchester weather (Blue cloudless sky 120 degrees in the shade) 500,000 marched around the Labour Party Armed Camp. - It says something when a political party supplying the Government have to erect a mechanised metal zareba guarded by POLICE with sub machine guns to keep us OUT.
What have they to fear from the electorate - except DEFEAT ?
Eamonn McCann from the Derry Anti-War Coaltion, who is one of the Raytheon 9 - a group of anti-war protesters currently facing charges for occupying the Raytheon factory on 9 August 2006 during Israel's recent assault on Lebanon. He explained how Raytheon produces the cluster bombs and guided missile units used by the Israeli army against the people of Lebanon
"We will face the court not as the accused, but as the accusers of companies like Raytheon that fuel war for the sake of their profits," he said.As he explained, he heard the most eleoquent speech before they entered the plant. "Boys we could do this. Let's fucking do it..... So we did"
"We are here as part of the growing global resistance to war and imperialism - the real 'international community and the last, best hope for humankind."
The Derry protestors decommissioned computer equipment used by Raytheon to produce software for its weapons systems. They have been charged with aggravated burglary and unlawful assembly. These are very serious offences that could mean the accused could be denied the right to trial by jury under British security legislation prevailing in the north of Ireland. (They also include Deirdre Clancy - Pit Stop Ploughshares/Anti-War Ireland Ciaron O'Reilly - Pit Stop Ploughshares
They are forbidden to communicate with each other or with anyone working for Raytheon and may not take part in any public or private anti-war meeting. This attack on the right to protest takes place under the authority of Peter Hain (the man with the tan from the can), British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and wannabe Deputy Prime Minister.
Other speakers included Nahella Ashraf, chair of Greater Manchester Stop the War Coalition, John Rees of the Stop the War Coalition, Bectu national official Anna Murray, human rights campaigner Bianca Jagger, folk singer Peggy Seeger and Craig Murray, (see pic of him in full flow) the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan and Copyright breaker.
Some Pictures which hopefully capture the sunshine, happiness and genera 'oop North joi de vivre
There were no arrests. (pic from Al Jazeera)
Ex Viscount Stansgate AKA Tony Benn and Ex Mrs Mick Jagger AKA Bianca Jagger ask a Policeman the way to the March. (MEB Pic)