Archive article from The Socialist Issue 451
Huge protest against the invasion of Lebanon
Socialist Party banner on the demo
UP TO 100,000 lively, angry protesters marched through central London on 5 August to demand an immediate ceasefire in Lebanon and to show their disgust at the Blair government’s continuing support for US and Israeli policies in the Middle East.
The previous week’s massacre of Lebanese civilians at Qana by Israeli attacks and the continuing refusal of the Bush and Blair governments to back resolutions at the UN calling for a ceasefire had intensified the angry mood of the demo.
Protesters from Middle Eastern, Asian and European backgrounds laid four coffins and children’s shoes at the Cenotaph, outside Downing Street, to bring home the fact that many children had been killed in the conflicts in Lebanon and Iraq. The march also went past the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square.
Speakers at the rally after the demonstration included John McDonnell MP, who has said he intends to stand against Gordon Brown for Labour’s leadership when Blair resigns and Walter Wolfgang – the Labour Party member who was forcibly ejected from last year’s Labour Party conference and who has recently been elected to Labour’s national executive in response.
Human rights lawyer Louise Christian and Craig Murray, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, said Tony Blair was complicit in war crimes and should be called to account.
Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS said: “Bush and Blair say they are against terror and yet when Israel engages in terror they remain silent.” He also called for the biggest possible mobilisation for the Stop the War demo outside the Labour Party conference in Manchester on 23 September - a demonstration that looks increasingly likely to be very big.
Respect MP George Galloway claimed that Hezbollah leader Nasrallah is the real leader of the Arab peoples – a reflection of the increasing support for Hezbollah at present. However, George did not question Hezbollah targeting Israeli civilians and their political stance of creating an Islamic state in the Middle East.
Socialist Party members on the demonstration sold over 600 papers and raised nearly £500 for party funds. Over 20 people expressed an interest in joining the Socialist Party.
OVER 500 people marched behind the International Socialist Resistance banner on anti-war demo called at short notice in Cardiff on 29 July. Socialist Party member and University College Union executive member Andrew Price addressed a rally afterwards where he denounced the hypocrisy of imperialism, which attacked the terrorism of Hezbollah while ignoring the devastating state terrorism of their ally and client state, Israel.
Socialist Party member and TGWU convenor at Visteon, Rob Williams, emphasises the importance of international workers’ solidarity.
Yahya Hassan brough greetings from the General Federation of Free Workers Trade Union in Saudi Arabia.
= exploited: ISR takes to the streets!
The Socialist is fortnightly during August