Anti-war movement takes to streets on both sides of Atlantic 

Duncan Campbell and Jamie Wilson in Washington

09/24/05 "The Guardian"
-- -- The anti-war movement on both sides of the Atlantic is hoping that tens of thousands of protesters will take to the streets today in London and Washington as conditions in Iraq deteriorate.

Among those urging a withdrawal of coalition forces at today's rally in Hyde Park will be veteran anti-war campaigner Tom Hayden and the mother of a British soldier killed near Basra.

"We are hoping for 80,000 to 100,000," said Stop the War Coalition spokesman Andrew Burgin yesterday. He said events in Basra this week, when British troops were attacked, had shown how urgent it was for Britain to leave. "Bringing the troops home by Christmas is the aim of the rally," said Mr Burgin.

Views differed within the movement as to whether the troops should be replaced by UN soldiers or whether all foreign troops should leave, he said. "Our view is that the troops are part of the problem. The polls show that between 60% and 65% of the British people want the troops out but the problem is that the political class does not reflect what is happening."

The rally will be addressed by Tony Benn, Tariq Ali, journalist John Pilger, Tom Hayden, the anti-Vietnam war campaigner who became a Democratic party politician, and Susan Smith, whose son, Private Phillip Hewett, was killed in Basra in July.

In Washington tens of thousands are expected today for what is being billed as one of the biggest anti-war protests in the US since the Vietnam era. The figurehead of the United For Peace and Justice Mobilisation is Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq who set up camp outside George Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas, during his summer holiday.

Useful links
Guide to anti-war websites
Stop the War Coalition (UK)

Guardian Newspapers Limited 2005

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