The Day We Broke The Ban

Several members of KPC went to the demonstration on 8th October, organised by CND and Stop the War Coalition, demanding that the government 'bring all the troops home'. It was attended by around 5,000 people - a great turn out for a weekday, and it was encouraging that there were quite a lot of young people, coming with student groups, who were very enthusiastic.

Despite earlier attempts to ban the event, the police allowed the demonstration to process along Whitehall and through Parliament Square to College Green. Public outrage at attempts to prevent it as shown in the press in articles from Tony Benn and Brian Eno helped ensure that the march reached Parliament whilst the House of Commons was sitting.

Speaking in Trafalgar Square, CND Chair Kate Hudson highlighted the hypocrisy of trying to ban the protest when the Prime Minister had promised to extend liberties around the world at the Labour Party conference.

In his speech, Brian Eno highlighted a further government surrender to US foreign policy: on the day before Parliament's summer recess, Defence Secretary Des Browne slipped out a written statement announcing that the US can use Yorkshires Menwith Hill base as part of its Missile Defence programme. Recently, speculation has grown that the US may also install interceptor rockets in the UK.

However, it was a great shame that there wasn't a much stronger call at the demo for this government to provide full financial support for reconstruction and rehabilitation on Iraq's terms. Yes, we want the troops out, but to imply that this is all smacks of rats abandoning a sinking ship. The government must not be allowed to forget its tremendous obligations - it can't just 'move on'.

It would be interesting to hear KPC members' views on this. Send your thoughts to the editor of next month's newsletter (see back page for details).