Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Peace vigils in Swindon

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Yesterday we had two vigils in Swindon, one at lunch time and one after work, to commemorate the 4th anniversary of the war. Between them we had 16 people take part, including a delegation of Quakers.

We even had someone come up from Devizes to take part (but not Michael Ancram, Devizes Tory MP who was speaking at the "peoples' assembly" in London).

We got a full page of coverage in the local paper the Swindon Advertiser, and despite bitter cold it was a good experience, with a lot of positive response from passers by.

I cannot help feeling this was a much better option for activists, being out on the streets as engaged participants rather than sitting as an audeince to the pontifications of the great and the good for the rally organised by Stop the War nationally - the "peoples' assembly". Which by the way seems to have received no press coverage outside Socialist Worker, but I am happy to be corrected on this if you saw a report.

1 comment:

RM said...

Alas, Michael Ancram didn't turn up. Nor did he send any apologies for his absence.

Galloway wasn't there either; although, despite a rumour he was in Sheffield, this was apparently because of a slipped disk.

All things considered, I thought it was a fairly interesting experience; I was particularly pleased to see two LibDems speaking from the platform. Dennis Kucinich was also worth listening to - at least for the sheer entertainment value. ("We are all truly one, we must be champions for peace." Repeat this in various forms for a few minutes, with plenty of gesticulation and you have his speech.)

That said, I was talking to someone afterwards who had been very frustrated that it wasn't really a 'debate', nor were there many 'people' from the floor participating.

I thought it was a particular shame that a Libyan guy (an asylum seeker?) from the floor wasn't called to speak. In response he grabbed the mic. and expressed his outrage that the suffering of the Lybian people was being ignored and stated that he would never get involved in politics in Britain again. Whoops.