Thousands march against war at Labour conference in Manchester

By staff writers
September 23, 2006

Thousands march against war at Labour conference in Manchester

-23/09/06

Over 40,000 protestors took to the streets of Manchester today ñ people of many faiths and none ñ to call for the withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, on the eve of Tony Blairís final Labour Party conference as prime minister.

The organizers, including the Stop the War Coalition and the British Muslim Initiative described the demonstration as ìone of the biggest mobilisations outside Londonî. There were a number of Christian posters and images on the march, as well as a ìBrowned off with warî one ñ a comment to the possible next British PM, the current Chancellor.

Lauren Booth, Tony Blairís own sister-in-law, called on him to resign and accused him of pursuing ìa crusadeî against the Muslim world. Other speakers included ex-Labour MP and minister Tony Benn, union leaders, Rose Gentle of Military Families Against the War, and Craig Murray, the former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan.

The march started off in Albert Square outside the city's town hall, before heading down Lower Mosley Street, Deansgate, Market Street, Cross Street and back to Albert Square for a rally. A peace camp was set up earlier in the day at the nearby Peace Gardens earlier this week by families of serving troops.

There was a ëdie iní to remember those who had died in the conflicts. Protestors also sounded off about the governmentís Middle East policy, especially on Palestine, and spoke against plans to replace the Trident nuclear submarines.

Church leaders are among those who have called for a scrapping of Britainís nuclear weapons, with opponents arguing that they are not independent, do not act as a deterrent, and depend on immoral threats of mass destruction against others.

The theme for the Manchester demonstration, which was cordoned off by police and security personnel from the G-Mex Centre where the governing partyís conference will begin tomorrow (24 September 2006), was ëTime To Goí.

Police estimated 20,000 people were taking part. Stop The War Coalition had said it had expected about 100,000. Independent observers and counters split the difference.

Andrew Murray of the Stop the War Coalition declared: "The tens of thousands of people marching through Manchester represent the opinion of the majority of people in this country. More than 80% of British people think Tony Blair should stop supporting George Bush's war-mongering policies which have brought nothing but chaos, death and devastation."

The march is the fifteenth national demonstration organised by the Stop The War Coalition, CND and the Muslim Association of Britain since 2003, and is the biggest of its kind ever held in Manchester.

The Christian Socialist Movement is organizing a record number of fringe meetings at the Labour Conference 2006. A number of its members joined the anti-war protest. The Movement will hold the traditional conference church service tomorrow, at which Tony Blair is expected to attend.

[Also on Ekklesia: Christian Socialists defend NestlÈ sponsorship; Christian Socialists choose theologian as new leader; Christian Socialists want to hold Blair to justice agenda; Christians tackle Labour over corporate responsibility; Christians to challenge Government and big business at Labour gathering; Christian MP says he is HIV+; Christian MPs vote to support Iraq war; TV producer defends claims about God, Bush and Iraq]

Thousands march against war at Labour conference in Manchester

-23/09/06

Over 40,000 protestors took to the streets of Manchester today ñ people of many faiths and none ñ to call for the withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, on the eve of Tony Blairís final Labour Party conference as prime minister.

The organizers, including the Stop the War Coalition and the British Muslim Initiative described the demonstration as ìone of the biggest mobilisations outside Londonî. There were a number of Christian posters and images on the march, as well as a ìBrowned off with warî one ñ a comment to the possible next British PM, the current Chancellor.

Lauren Booth, Tony Blairís own sister-in-law, called on him to resign and accused him of pursuing ìa crusadeî against the Muslim world. Other speakers included ex-Labour MP and minister Tony Benn, union leaders, Rose Gentle of Military Families Against the War, and Craig Murray, the former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan.

The march started off in Albert Square outside the city's town hall, before heading down Lower Mosley Street, Deansgate, Market Street, Cross Street and back to Albert Square for a rally. A peace camp was set up earlier in the day at the nearby Peace Gardens earlier this week by families of serving troops.

There was a ëdie iní to remember those who had died in the conflicts. Protestors also sounded off about the governmentís Middle East policy, especially on Palestine, and spoke against plans to replace the Trident nuclear submarines.

Church leaders are among those who have called for a scrapping of Britainís nuclear weapons, with opponents arguing that they are not independent, do not act as a deterrent, and depend on immoral threats of mass destruction against others.

The theme for the Manchester demonstration, which was cordoned off by police and security personnel from the G-Mex Centre where the governing partyís conference will begin tomorrow (24 September 2006), was ëTime To Goí.

Police estimated 20,000 people were taking part. Stop The War Coalition had said it had expected about 100,000. Independent observers and counters split the difference.

Andrew Murray of the Stop the War Coalition declared: "The tens of thousands of people marching through Manchester represent the opinion of the majority of people in this country. More than 80% of British people think Tony Blair should stop supporting George Bush's war-mongering policies which have brought nothing but chaos, death and devastation."

The march is the fifteenth national demonstration organised by the Stop The War Coalition, CND and the Muslim Association of Britain since 2003, and is the biggest of its kind ever held in Manchester.

The Christian Socialist Movement is organizing a record number of fringe meetings at the Labour Conference 2006. A number of its members joined the anti-war protest. The Movement will hold the traditional conference church service tomorrow, at which Tony Blair is expected to attend.

[Also on Ekklesia: Christian Socialists defend NestlÈ sponsorship; Christian Socialists choose theologian as new leader; Christian Socialists want to hold Blair to justice agenda; Christians tackle Labour over corporate responsibility; Christians to challenge Government and big business at Labour gathering; Christian MP says he is HIV+; Christian MPs vote to support Iraq war; TV producer defends claims about God, Bush and Iraq]

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.