STOP THE WAR COALITION NEWSLETTER – 20 September 2006

STOP THE WAR COALITION
NEWSLETTER No. 2006/37
20 September 2006
Email office@stopwar.org.uk
Telephone 020 7278 6694
Web: www.stopwar.org.uk

IN THIS NEWSLETTER:
1)  ALL EYES ON MANCHESTER THIS WEEKEND
2)  LONDON TO MANCHESTER PEACE TRAIN
3)  COACHES ACROSS THE COUNTRY
4)  POLICE “FUMING” OVER PEACE CAMP BAN
5)  AFTER BLAIR – TIME FOR CHANGE
6)  LABOUR AGAINST THE WAR MEETING
7)  JOINT STOP THE WAR / CND MEETING

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1)  ALL EYES ON MANCHESTER THIS WEEKEND
Tony Blair says the Labour conference which starts in Manchester this weekend will be his last. For most of his party, he can’t step down as party leader soon enough. “He should go immediately. He is destroying the party,” is how one Labour official summed up the situation in the Independent newspaper.

It is not just his party that he is destroying. His support for George Bush’s war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan and for Israel’s barbaric attacks on Lebanon and Gaza has lead to the destruction of four countries. Which is why tens of thousands of anti-war protestors will pour into Manchester this Saturday 23 September for the TIME TO GO demonstration on the eve of the Labour conference.

Tony Benn, the president of Stop the War, says, “There will be no peace for us until Tony Blair has left Downing Street.” But our message will be the same for whoever is the leader of the Labour party: The Bush/Blair wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the threat of further wars in Iran and Syria must end now.

This will almost certainly be the biggest demonstration the north of England has seen for decades. If you haven’t yet made your plans to join us, there is still time to book your ticket from wherever you live in Britain. There are coaches organised in every area of the country and a special London to Manchester peace train (SEE BELOW for details).

George Bush’s view that “progress towards peace and democracy” is being made in Iraq and Afghanistan is a laughable fantasy, but not for the people suffering every day the almost unimaginable levels of mass slaughter and devastation which the Bush/Blair wars have brought to their countries.

United Nations Secretary Kofi Annan says the US/UK invasion of Iraq has been a disaster for the Middle East region and on Saturday we have the chance, in our tens of thousands, to bring home to the Labour conference that top of the Labour Party’s agenda must be the need to end the Bush/Blair wars. JOIN US.

DEMONSTRATION DETAILS: http://tinyurl.com/k7jhz
MAP OF DEMONSTRATION ROUTE: http://tinyurl.com/ekmvw
Details of the speakers at the demonstration rally will be published on the Stop the War website shortly: www.stopwar.org.uk

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2)  LONDON TO MANCHESTER PEACE TRAIN
If you live in London you can take the Stop the War Peace Train and join TONY BENN, BIANCA JAGGER, legendary folk singer PEGGY SEEGER, former British ambassador CRAIG MURRAY, poet ADRIAN MITCHELL and many other prominent voices from the anti-war movement, who will be speaking or performing on the train. BBC TV and Al-Jazeera TV are among the media channels who will be reporting from the train.
THERE ARE STILL SOME PEACE TRAIN TICKETS AVAILABLE BUT TO AVOID DISAPPOINTMENT BOOK NOW:
PHONE 020 7278 6694 OR
BOOK ONLINE: http://tinyurl.com/onofl

TRAIN Departs Euston Station 08.12 am
Arrives Manchester 11.56 am
Returns from Manchester 06.30 pm
Arrives Euston Station 10.08 pm

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3)  COACHES ACROSS THE COUNTRY
Such is the demand from people who want to add their voice to the TIME TO GO demonstration that many local Stop the War groups are reporting they have booked more coaches than for any demonstration since 2003. Full details of coaches organised across the country are available on the Stop the War website. Coaches are still being added each day, so if your town or borough is not listed, contact the Stop the War office on 020 7278 6694.
DETAILS OF COACHES IN YOUR AREA ARE AVAILABLE HERE:
http://tinyurl.com/jeqpv

The Manchester drop off and pick up points for coaches are available here:
http://tinyurl.com/ekmvw

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4)  POLICE “FUMING” OVER PEACE CAMP BAN
Manchester City Labour Council prides itself on being Britain’s premier “city of peace” but it has banned a peace camp planned by military families who have lost loved ones in the Bush/Blair wars or who have relatives serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. The peace camp is planned to coincide with the Labour conference and the TIME TO GO demonstration and will go ahead despite the ban.

The reasons given by the council for refusing permission for a peace camp are so unsupportable that even the police have said they are against the ban. A Manchester police spokesperson said, “The council are saying it’s a security issue but it’s not. We’re fuming about this. We’ve got no problem with the protest.”

The real reason must be Labour wanting to avoid embarrassment for Tony Blair over his wars which have caused such suffering for these families. Rose Gentle, whose 19 year old son Gordon was killed in Iraq, says: “We think it’s because it’s the Labour conference and they don’t want us going and voicing our opinions because Mr Blair is going to be there. We’re still going to come down and camp out and if the police come and lift us then they do.”

Rose explained in the Daily Mail why she will be defying the ban: http://tinyurl.com/l78cn. And Pam Haywood, mother of a serving soldier in Iraq, told the BBC why she will be there too: http://tinyurl.com/kk933

FOR DETAILS OF THE MILITARY FAMILIES PEACE CAMP AT THE LABOUR CONFERENCE, GO TO: http://www.mfaw.org.uk/

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5)  AFTER BLAIR – TIME FOR CHANGE
Many protestors from across the county are planning to stay for the weekend in Manchester so they can attend both the TIME TO GO demonstration and the Stop the War alternative conference on Sunday 24 September, entitled After Blair – Time for Change. Entrance is free and all are welcome.

STOP THE WAR ALTERNATIVE CONFERENCE
AFTER BLAIR: TIME FOR CHANGE
SUNDAY 24 SEPTEMBER: 10.30 am – 6.00 pm
Roscoe Building, University of Manchester,
Brunswick Street, Manchester M13 9PL

TOPICS
* Crisis in the Middle East
* Islamophobia and the Strategy of Tension
* The Humanitarian and Economic Costs of War
* The Media and War

SPEAKERS INCLUDE: Tariq Ali, George Galloway MP, Guantanamo detainee Moazzam Begg, former UK ambassador Craig Murray and many other prominent anti-war voices. There are a wide range of workshops through the day.
DETAILS OF THE CONFERENCE ARE HERE: http://tinyurl.com/hl66p

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6)  LABOUR AGAINST THE WAR MEETING
There are many in the Labour Party who have consistently opposed Tony Blair’s warmongering. LABOUR AGAINST THE WAR has organised a fringe meeting at the Labour Conference in Manchester on Sunday 24 September.

LABOUR CONFERENCE FRINGE MEETING:
ENOUGH! TIME TO LEAVE IRAQ
Organised by Labour Against the War
SUNDAY 24 SEPTEMBER 7PM
CHAIR: Alan Simpson MP.
SPEAKERS: Tony Benn, Rose Gentle (MFAW), Billy Hayes (Gen Sec, CWU), Jeremy Corbyn MP, Christine Shawcroft (LP NEC), John McDonnell MP, Milan Rai, Andrew Murray (StWC), Walter Wolfgang (LP NEC).
VENUE: Friends Meeting House. 6 Mount Street, Manchester M2 5NS.
ENTRANCE: £2
See http://www.labouragainstthewar.org.uk/

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7)  JOINT STOP THE WAR / CND MEETING
Stop the War and CND have organised a joint fringe meeting at the Labour Conference:
TROOPS OUT OF IRAQ. DON’T ATTACK IRAN
METHODIST CENTRAL HALL, OLDHAM STREET, MANCHESTER 7PM
SPEAKERS INCLUDE: Tony Benn, Walter Wolfgang (Labour Party NEC), Michael Meacher MP, Craig Murray, Roudabeh Shafie (Action Iran), Lindsey German (STWC), Kate Hudson (CND)