The Oxford, Swindon and Bristol Stop the War coalitions, Oxford and Swindon CND, and Faringdon Peace Group have called a national demonstration at RAF Brize Norton for December 2nd to press home this point. They are supported by the national Stop the War Coalition, CND, and Trades’ Council of Oxford.
Anti-war protesters from across the country will gather at noon on Carterton Road near Brize Norton village for a 1 pm march past the main gate of the base, where they will lay flowers as a mark of respect for the dead of all nationalities. The march will pause for two minutes of silence in the centre of Carterton before continuing on to the Carterton recreation grounds for a rally. Jeremy Corbyn (MP), Kate Hudson (CND), Caroline Lucas (MEP), Felicity Arbuthnot (journalist and researcher specialising on Iraq), Tony Flint (Gulf War veteran), Colin Fox (MSP), Lindsey German (Stop the War Coalition national convener), Andrew Murray (Stop the War Coalition national chair), and others will speak.
Anna Millan of the Oxford Stop the War Coalition noted that “the protesters will take their demand for an immediate end to the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq right to the front gate of the UK’s biggest military base. RAF Brize Norton is the most important British military base for maintaining the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, and it is the main transport hub for sending troops in and out of those countries.” When George Bush visits Britain, he flies into RAF Brize Norton. It has been used to forcibly expel asylum-seekers back to Iraq, and the CIA has used it as a staging post to fly people to secret destinations to be tortured. This past August the base was used by US planes taking munitions to the Israeli Defence Force to bomb Lebanon. “What better place is there to voice our demands for troops out now?” she asked.
The vast majority of people in the UK want British troops out of Iraq now. More and more people feel the same about Afghanistan. They recognize that the occupying armies are not part of the solution to the problems in those countries; they are part of the problem. Many people in the armed forces, from top to bottom, also want the occupations to end. Now is the time to keep the pressure on our government to listen to the people.
The message the protesters will delivered to Tony Blair on December 2nd is simple. End the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan now. Stop using British bases to the support the occupations of those countries. Use RAF Brize Norton to bring the troops home.
The Oxford CND has booked coaches to the demonstration. The coaches will leave the Oxford Railway Station at 11 am. Tickets are £4.50 waged and £3.50 unwaged. They can be gotten at the Quaker Centre, The Inner Bookshop and Uruhu Foods. For additional information email the Oxford Stop the War Coalition at email@example.com. Details are also available at www.stopwar.org.uk.