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Monday, Oct. 01, 2001 at 9:43 AM
On Sunday, September 30, our allies in Britain gathered at the Brighton Conference Center (or Centre, as they say) to barricade a meeting of the New Labour party. Owing to recent events the demonstration took on an additional focus - a push for peace. The following is her short report.
About 5000 braved an extremely wet and windy day for a 1hr
rally and 2hr march around the barricaded Brighton Conference Centre,
where New Labour held the first day of their conference. The rally was
organised by the Socialist Alliance (cluster of groups to the left of New
Labour) with speeches stressing the hypocrisy of US in having been
willing to see civilians killed in its military actions and in its
economic policy, especially the children of Iraq. Chile, Nicaragua, Iraq,
Libya, Vietnam - all got a mention, as well as US role in creating the
conditions for the Taliban to take power and their direct responsibility for
training bin Laden. Someone read from an old Kennedy speech (in South
Africa) where he urged that every citizen who stands up against repression
and defends human rights helps to bring about a better and more peaceful
world. We hope so!
Slogans on posters included;
People before Profit
Peace not War
neatly combining the mood of anti-militarism and
It was a noisy demo, with chants of
'1-2-3-4 We dont want your racist war
5-6-7-8 Spend it on the welfare state'
(or 'Organise and agitate')
'They say Warfare, we say Welfare'
'Bush, Bush, we know you
Daddy was a killer too'
'Blair, Bush, hey hey hey
How many kids did you kill today?'
and the like.
There were drums and carnival costumes as well as wet
raincoats and umbrellas among the many trade union banners and posters.
Police with riot gear and horses lined the route, funnelling us along the
seafront but away from the Brighton Centre. As we passed it our chants and
whistles reached a crescendo. A few (20 or so) delegates came out and stood
behind the steel fence that caged them in, wishing us well by waving. The
demo dispersed peacefully, which is why you wont see anything on the news!
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