Stop the War calls “emergency protest” against attack on Syria

Article published: Thursday, August 29th 2013

An emergency demo against a possible UK attack on Syria has been called for this Friday by Greater Manchester Stop the War Coalition.

A Syrian opposition flag seen in Damascus in 2012. Photograph: Shaam News Network/Reuters/Handout

A Syrian opposition flag seen in Damascus in 2012. Photograph: Shaam News Network/Reuters/Handout

The protest is one of a series of demonstrations taking place across the UK, with national Stop the War convener Lyndsey German saying intervention in the civil war-wracked country would “exacerbate” the conflict and “lead to greater casualties on all sides”.

Western governments have raised the prospect of military air strikes following the suspected use of chemical weapons, allegedly by pro-government troops under the command of President Bashar al-Assad, in the outskirts of the Syrian capital Damascus on 21 August.

The governments of the US, UK and France say the air strikes would be a necessary act of humanitarian intervention, with US President Barack Obama claiming that the action would “send a shot across the bow” of Assad’s government.

Opponents argue that even “limited” intervention will worsen Syria’s civil war, which began as peaceful protests against the Assad regime but turned violent after brutal crackdowns by the government.

Some analysts suspect the US and its allies, including the UK, of wanting to drag out hostilities – and in the process weaken a key regional ally of Russia and Iran – without risking victory by a potentially unpredictable opposition movement divided into numerous rival factions.

France and Russia have despatched warships to the eastern Mediterranean near the coast of Syria, but the pace toward a strike has faltered slightly in the last 24 hours. Prime Minister David Cameron was forced to delay the timetable for strikes after Labour Party leader Ed Miliband refused to back intervention until UN weapons inspectors had examined the evidence of a chemical attack and presented their findings to the UN Security Council.

Stop the War will hold their Manchester protest at Piccadilly Gardens, from 5pm to 6.30pm, this Friday, 30 August.

Richard Goulding

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