Anti-war protestors target Labour conference
Demonstrations took place today in central Manchester as anti-war activists sought to make their opinions heard outside the Labour party conference.
The protest, which police said featured as many as 20,000 people, was organised around the theme of “time to go” and called for the withdrawal of British troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Demonstrators from the Military Families Against The War (MFAW) organisation, who camped overnight in St Peter’s Square, were joined by new arrivals of protestors in the run-up to this afternoon’s main events.
A march took place at around 13:00 in Albert Square, which paraded around the city centre before returning to Albert Square for a rally.
There then followed a “mass die-in” at around 14:30, which saw participants lie on a white sheet or cloth to draw attention to the 6,600 people the UN claims have died in Iraq in the last two months.
“Our aim is for a few minutes to symbolise as graphically as we can the horrific levels of violent death which now characterise daily life in Baghdad and many other towns and cities in Iraq,” Stop The War’s website said before the event took place.
Protestors claimed the rally is set to be the biggest ever lobbying event of a political conference in the UK’s history.
They had predicted around 100,000 people would attend the rally and hear a range of speakers including Tony Benn and Brian Eno.
The leaked comments of a British Army major claiming that the RAF in Afghanistan is “utterly, utterly useless” brought added vigour to the demonstrators’ calls for a withdrawal, as did news of a fresh suicide bomb in Baghdad this morning which killed at least 26 people.