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    Anti-war protesters wave a Syrian flag as they demonstrate against proposals to bomb Syria outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain December 1, 2015.

    Don’t Bomb Syria, British Voters Tell Their MPs

    © REUTERS / Neil Hall
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    Nikolai Gorshkov
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    London has been abuzz with anti-war protests in the run-up to Wednesday’s vote in Parliament on the government’s motion to start bombing Syria. Over 50,000 Britons have petitioned their MPs to vote “no,” and hundreds took to central London on Tuesday to make their feelings known.

    The crowd may not have been as big as a Million Mask March or the protest against Climate Change, but it roared like a lion: “Don’t bomb Syria, no more wars!” Hundreds of people gathered on Parliament Square in London to send a powerful message to MPs not to support the government’s itch for a fight. Organized by Stop the War coalition with support from CND and other peace groups, the protest was meant to preempt a vote in Parliament on Wednesday on Britain joining the US – led coalition in bombing Daesh, also known as ISIL/the Islamic State terror group in Syria.

    Prime Minister David Cameron’s argument that Britain can make a difference in the coalition’s efforts to defeat Daesh did not appear to hold any water with the protesters.

    “Remember the Iraq war,” said Salma Yaqoob of the Birmingham branch of “Stop the War.”

    Indeed, replied a protester standing next to me: “ISIL is a child of that illegal war.”

    The dubious nature of the government’s arguments in favor of bombing was highlighted by veteran journalist Jonathan Steele, who said: “Tony Blair produced dodgy Iraq dossier, David Cameron produces dodgy soundbites about Syria.”

    The protesters appeared to be unanimous in their view that the bombing of Syria will only exacerbate the suffering of Syrian civilians without succeeding at dislodging Daesh, a task that would require boots on the ground, which in turn would make a mission creep unavoidable. And that’s what worries the people most – their country being dragged into another war without a clear plan and exit strategy.

    The rally on Parliament Square grew by the minute and, after rousing speeches, started an orderly – and largely peaceful – procession towards the headquarters of the Labour and Conservative parties to deliver letters of protest against the planned bombing of Syria.

    • London has been abuzz with anti-war protests in the run-up to Wednesday’s vote in Parliament on the government’s motion to start bombing Syria. Over 50,000 Britons have petitioned their MPs to vote “no,” and hundreds took to central London on Tuesday to make their feelings known.
      London has been abuzz with anti-war protests in the run-up to Wednesday’s vote in Parliament on the government’s motion to start bombing Syria. Over 50,000 Britons have petitioned their MPs to vote “no,” and hundreds took to central London on Tuesday to make their feelings known.
      © Sputnik / Nikolai Gorshkov
    • London has been abuzz with anti-war protests in the run-up to Wednesday’s vote in Parliament on the government’s motion to start bombing Syria. Over 50,000 Britons have petitioned their MPs to vote “no,” and hundreds took to central London on Tuesday to make their feelings known.
      London has been abuzz with anti-war protests in the run-up to Wednesday’s vote in Parliament on the government’s motion to start bombing Syria. Over 50,000 Britons have petitioned their MPs to vote “no,” and hundreds took to central London on Tuesday to make their feelings known.
      © Sputnik / Nikolai Gorshkov
    • London has been abuzz with anti-war protests in the run-up to Wednesday’s vote in Parliament on the government’s motion to start bombing Syria. Over 50,000 Britons have petitioned their MPs to vote “no,” and hundreds took to central London on Tuesday to make their feelings known.
      London has been abuzz with anti-war protests in the run-up to Wednesday’s vote in Parliament on the government’s motion to start bombing Syria. Over 50,000 Britons have petitioned their MPs to vote “no,” and hundreds took to central London on Tuesday to make their feelings known.
      © Sputnik / Nikolai Gorshkov
    • London has been abuzz with anti-war protests in the run-up to Wednesday’s vote in Parliament on the government’s motion to start bombing Syria. Over 50,000 Britons have petitioned their MPs to vote “no,” and hundreds took to central London on Tuesday to make their feelings known.
      London has been abuzz with anti-war protests in the run-up to Wednesday’s vote in Parliament on the government’s motion to start bombing Syria. Over 50,000 Britons have petitioned their MPs to vote “no,” and hundreds took to central London on Tuesday to make their feelings known.
      © Sputnik / Nikolai Gorshkov
    • London has been abuzz with anti-war protests in the run-up to Wednesday’s vote in Parliament on the government’s motion to start bombing Syria. Over 50,000 Britons have petitioned their MPs to vote “no,” and hundreds took to central London on Tuesday to make their feelings known.
      London has been abuzz with anti-war protests in the run-up to Wednesday’s vote in Parliament on the government’s motion to start bombing Syria. Over 50,000 Britons have petitioned their MPs to vote “no,” and hundreds took to central London on Tuesday to make their feelings known.
      © Sputnik / Nikolai Gorshkov
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    © Sputnik / Nikolai Gorshkov
    London has been abuzz with anti-war protests in the run-up to Wednesday’s vote in Parliament on the government’s motion to start bombing Syria. Over 50,000 Britons have petitioned their MPs to vote “no,” and hundreds took to central London on Tuesday to make their feelings known.

    I joined the one headed towards the Conservatives’ HQ. A long procession snaked through the streets around St James and passed by an imposing building set back in a courtyard blocked by a thin police line. Suspecting that was our destination I asked a police officer about the building. “A most exclusive bar in London” — a wry reply. Since I was at the back of the queue it was difficult for me to see whether the petition was duly received at the Conservative  “bar”. But judging by the bobby’s jovial mood he was enjoying the peaceful protest more than his job might  allow…

    We snaked back to Parliament Square to finish off the protest with a powerful chant against a war on Syria facing the Houses where shortly the MPs will decide on the perennial question of war and peace.

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    Tags:
    Activism, pacifism, march, protest, London Protests Against UK's Bombings of Syria, Stop the War Coalition, United Kingdom
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