Events planned for Conscientious Objectors' Day

By agency reporter
May 14, 2018

On Tuesday 15 May events will be held around the world to remember, support and celebrate conscientious objectors, who have established and are maintaining the right to refuse to kill.

The Peace Pledge Union has released the following schedule of events that will be taking place in the UK.

 At 12.00 noon, in Tavistock Square, London WC1, white flowers will be laid in memory of conscientious objectors past and present, including the hundreds still imprisoned around the world for resisting war.

Speakers include Ertirean conscientious objector Selam Kidane, along with Hannah Brock of War Resisters' International. We will hear particularly about the hundreds of conscientious objectors still in prison in Korea.

There will be reflections and music to celebrate conscientious objection. The ceremony is organised by the First World War Peace Forum, a network of groups including the Peace Pledge Union. The event is open to all.

At 6.30pm, the film A Bold Peace will be shown by the Movement for the Abolition of War (MAW) in Mander Hall, Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London WC1 (headquarters of the National Education Union). It tells the story of Costa Rica's decision 70 years ago to abolish its army. Writer, producer and director of the film Matthew Eddy will introduce the film and answer questions afterwards. Tickets cost £5.97.

Bradford Peace Museum will host 'Oh, What a Lovely War Resistance!', a lecture by hisotrian Clive Barrett on music in opposition to war. They invite you to join them to discover how peace campaigners in the nineteenth century produced songs that encouraged those who opposed the First World War, and even inspired Martin Luther King 50 years later. 6.30-8.00pm.

In Brighton the film Hacksaw Ridge will be screened at 6.30 pm the Quaker Meeting House, Ship Street, Brighton. There will be a brief introduction followed by the showing of the film, about a an army medic in World War Two who refused to carry a weapon or kill anyone. Organised by the Brighton and Hove branch of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. 

Cambridge Stop the War will run a stall in the city centre at lunch time, with support from local Quakers, collecting signatures in support of conscientious objectors imprisoned in South Korea. On Saturday 19 May they will host a play about conscientious objectors in the First World War.

At 10 am on Dartmoor, Devon, join a guided walk and morning of quiet reflection to follow the route of the conscientious objectors who built the 'road to nowhere', otherwise known as 'Conchies' Road' while imprisoned in the Princetown camp.

In Edinburgh, at 5.00-6.00pm there will be a vigil by the National Gallery off Princes Street. There will be readings, songs and a collection of signatures on postcards to send to imprisoned conscientious objectors in South Korea.

Also in Edinburgh at 6.30-8.00pm, the Opposing War Memorial Design Launch, at the Quaker Meeting House, 7 Victoria Street, Edinburgh EH1 2JL. Edinburgh-based artist Kate Ive's design will be unveiled for a memorial to conscientious objectors and all who oppose war. You are invited to meet the artist, hear about her creative process and find out how you can support the project. Historian Lesley Orr will speak about opposition to the First World War in Scotland.

In Leicester at 6-7 pm, Leicester CND and the Red Leciester Choir will gather at the memorial to conscientious objectors on Peace Walk, Leicester to remember people who refused to fight in the world wars and people around the world who are refusing to fight today. You can hear about the Eritrean refugees in Leicester, many of whom are conscientious objectors, and find out news of the charter to reduce the militarisation of young people in Leicester. Cake and juice will be provided.

In Liverpool at Friends' Meeting House, School Lane, Liverpool L1 3BT  there will be a screening of the film People Who Don't Take Up Arms, a documentary about the hundreds of conscientious objectors imprisoned in South Korea. Refreshments available from 5.30pm; film starts at 6.00pm. Earlier there will be a stall in the city centre. Organised by the Merseyside Peace Alliance.

Until Sunday 23 September 2018 (generally open 1.00-5.00pm, Wednesday to Sunday) a new sculpture by Al Johnson will be at Bruce Castle Museum, Lordship Lane, London N17 8NU. The Lost Files explores the experience of conscientious objecrtors in World War One, with a focus on 350 conscientious objectors and their families from Hornsey, Tottenham and Wood Green. The exhibition is part of Conscientious Objection Remembered, a series of events developed by the Haringey First World War Peace Forum. There will be an artist's talk at Bruce Castle Museum at 12.15pm on Monday 21 May.

The Friends of Manchester Peace Garden invite you to join them outside St Ann's Church, St Ann's Square, Manchester at 5-6 pm. There will be a simple ceremony to mark the quiet heroism of people who followed not the drumbeats of war but their consciences, by refusing to take part in any killing. Those present will offer support to today's conscientious objectors around the world while remembering those from the past.

Norwich Quakers are holding a vigil on Hay Hill from 12 noon to 1 pm, to commemorate conscientious objectors. All are welcome. For more information email Paul Davies at

In Sheffield at 12.30 on the Town Hall steps and then in Sheffield's Peace Gardens, Sheffield Creative Action for Peace will pay tribute to the courage of conscientious objectors in the past and offer solidarity to conscientious objectors of today around the world. They will then move to the Cenotaph in Barkers Pool and lay a wreath of white poppies. The event will close by 1:30 pm.

* Peace Pledge Union



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