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Thursday, September 29, 2016
Gulf war hostage joins appeal for people of Iraq
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 A major demonstration is due to start in Trafalgar Square at noon today (Monday) to mark the tenth anniversary of sanctions on Iraq. Demonstrators plan to walk to the Foreign Office in Whitehall and commit civil disobedience by staging a symbolic 'die-in' in the road to represent the people who have died in Iraq as a result of sanctions. The Anglican Archbishop of Wales, Dr Rowan Williams, MPs Alice Mahon and Alan Simpson, Euro-MP Caroline Lucas, former Oxfam field director Reggie Norton, writer Harold Pinter, actor Nabil Shaban, comedians Jeremy Hardy and Mark Thomas are being joined in the protest by many groups including Pax Christi, Christian CND, Youth CND and Voices in the Wilderness. Economic sanctions were first imposed on Iraq on 6 August 1990. They have led to enormous suffering. According to a UNICEF report, half a million children have died as a direct result of the lack of food and medicines caused by the sanctions. The Churches have called for them to be lifted. Two former UN humanitarian coordinators for Iraq, Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck, resigned in protest at the effect sanctions are having on the ordinary people of Iraq. Denis Halliday said: "We are in the process of destroying an entire society. It is as simple and terrifying as that. It is illegal and immoral." Former Gulf War hostage Ian Mills has added his support to the protest. In an email sent to Tony Blair on Friday, Mr Millís wrote: "As a former hostage in Kuwait, who was subsequently taken to Baghdad as part of the human shield, I strongly request that the economic sanctions against Iraq are lifted immediately. During my enforced stay in Baghdad I was well treated and met many of the mothers and children who are currently suffering." On Sunday, a protester climbed to climbed to the top of the London Eye Millennium wheel as part of a weekend of protest against sanctions on Iraq. David Rolstone, from Narbeth in Wales, was there between 7 am and 8.30 am. He came down voluntarily and was arrested, then released without charge. Dave is a member of Voices in the Wilderness, a group protesting against sanctions on Iraq. He said. "I have visited Iraq myself and seen first hand the devastating effects of economic sanctions. This government's policy is a crime against humanity."
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