Newry Democrat Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Anti-war protest goes on

AS cruise missiles bombarded Baghdad last Thursday marking the start of the war in Iraq, crowds of anti war protesters gathered at Newry’s city hall to voice their opposition.

The rally followed a nationwide school walk out organised by Youth Against the War. Gary Mulcahy, spokesperson for the organisation said, “The war on Iraq will be a slaughter. The blood of Iraqi men, women and children will be spilled as a price for the oil in Iraq. Bush is correctly seen as an oil corporation disguised as a human being.”

Brian Gallagher, youth worker said, “Bush has created his own smoking gun, but he’s after his pound of flesh. There are already five American Companies hired to rebuild Iraq. He has bypassed the UN giving the weapon inspectors no time to do their work. The implications for Kuwait will be huge; there is simply no justification for sending troops in.”

Local school girl Charlene O’Hare said, “It’s a disgrace, so many innocent children will be slaughtered. There isn’t enough money for education and yet there’s enough money to go to war.”

Aiden Bennett, 6th year at the St. Colman’s said, “America is supposed to be fighting against chemical warfare, but they are the only country to have used it, 68 years ago in Hiroshima. I think this will be a long war and it will cost millions of lives, what’s even worse is that 50% of the population is under 14.”

‘How many lives per gallon’ was the message at the anti war rally which began at 5pm. The first speaker was Clare Treanor, committee chairwoman of the ‘Attack on Iraq’ coalition. Speaking with passion Claire said, “Remember this day 20th March 2003, it is a sad day for international peace and security, a sad day for Middle Eastern relations with the West and a sad day for democracy. We all know the rhetoric by now about the supposed liberation of the Iraqi people and the nobility of Britain and America’s cause. Their cause is not the worlds, not Iraqis and not noble, their cause is their own. It is an illegal and unjustified invasion. Consider yourself blessed that when you kiss your children goodnight you don’t have to fear that they will be murdered in their bed. This war will do nothing but fuel more hate towards the West and is the biggest recruitment call ever for Middle Eastern terrorists.”

Davy Hyland, Sinn Fein Councillor also spoke out saying, “No one wants Shannon airport to be used as a war port but there is a propaganda machine to ridicule anyone who stands up against this war.” Mr Hyland implored the crowds to stand their ground in opposing the war.

John Fee MLA (SDLP) said, “The US has ripped up every international convention on how war should be conducted. In one foul swoop, the authority of the UN and world opinion has been dismissed. Bush believing Might is Right, has a policy of shooting now and asking question later. Well, Mr Bush, you are wrong, we do not support you and you do not act in our name.”

“Britain had the opportunity to get out, but instead Britain and America tripped over each other to see who could supply the most weapons. Mr Blair, we don’t support you and we will oppose you. Iraq is one of the most valuable pieces of real estate in the world, but its population is poor and small making it an easy target. You can be sure that this war will change the world forever.”

v Mr Fee commented that there were so many young faces in the crowd and addressed them saying “You have got to be the conscience and see this long war through, keep protesting and campaigning for peace and justice.”

[Editors note: I hightlighted Fee's statement about young people. In the light of the repression being faced by students at Abbey Grammar, some getting a suspension of 50 days, 10 weeks of school, we'd hope that some of the great and the good of Newry would complain to the school authorities.]




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