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Nottingham ‘Stop the War Coalition’ Organise Protest against Syrian Air Strikes

Hundreds of people, including students from the University of Nottingham, gathered around the Brian Clough Statue on 2nd December 2015 to protest against the Syrian air strikes.

The gathering took place at 5:30 p.m. yesterday in response to the 174 majority vote in the House of Commons, announced just hours before, in favour of authorising bombing in Syria.

The protest was organised by the local branch of the UK-based Anti-War organisation ‘Stop the War Coalition’. Speakers from other organisations such as the Nottingham Green Party also participated in the event.

Tom Unterrainer, a member of Stop the War Coalition, headed the protest in Nottingham city centre, in which he heavily criticised the government decision.

Mr Unterrainer summarised the alleged “lies” in David Cameron’s argument supporting the Syrian Airstrikes.

This included the strength of the armed moderates ready to fill the void by Assad, that are said to number 70,000, as well as the decision to bomb Syria satisfying Chapter 7 of the Charter of United Nations, amongst others objections.

Attention was also given to the fact that under David Cameron’s government, between 2010 and 2014, at least 40% of Britain’s armed exports have gone to Saudi Arabia.

Comments from David Cameron that warned of voting with “Jeremy Corbyn and a bunch of terrorist sympathisers” were also addressed and seen to be objectionable.

Mr Unterrainer remarked in his address to the protestors that “we will not listen to a man who sanctions these arms deals!”

“We will not listen to a man who sanctions these arms deals!”

He concluded his speech by stating that bombing Syria would lead to prolonged military intervention resulting in further regional destabilisation of the Middle East.

Antonia Zenkovich, a member of the Nottingham Green Party, was present and articulated the frustration with the decision: “We are not looking at the causes of this war! We need to challenge this arms race! We need to challenge climate change! We need to challenge the idea that bombing people somehow saves lives!”

Umaar Kazmi, a first year Law student at the University of Nottingham and an active young member of the Labour Party, voiced his fear of the repercussions of the government’s decision to bomb Syria.

He told Impact: “Al-Qaeda was the child of the Afghan War (2001), ISIS was the child of the Iraq War (2003), I’m afraid of what the child of this war will be,” he remarked.

Once the speakers had finished, the demonstration marched around Old Market Square and Victoria Shopping Centre. During this march the crowd voiced its frustration by shouting “DON’T BOMB SYRIA!”

“DON’T BOMB SYRIA!”

A public meeting, led by ‘Nottingham Stop the War Coalition’, followed this march.

At the public meeting Hicham Yezza, a former student at the University of Nottingham and founder of the Nottingham Student Peace Movement, as well as editor of Ceasefire magazine, was highly critical of the “nefarious” role the media played in helping push for war. He stated that the media are “not doing their job, and therefore doing a great disservice to readers”.

The event tried to reinforce the ongoing need to organise and mobilise opposition to this action.

Nadhya Kamalaneson

Image: D B Young via Flickr

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