A weekend of peace demonstrations

 Catholic peace campaigners from Pax Christi, Christian CND and many Justice and Peace groups, took part in a large number of protests and prayer vigils around the UK over the weekend. In London they joined a 150,000-strong march which converged on Hyde Park to hear a number of speakers including Bruce Kent, vice president of Pax Christi and CND. Kent asked the crowds to raise their banners and told them: "You look like a field of flowers." Referring to the casualties in the previous night's bombing of Baghdad, he said: "What we saw on television last night was not a war it was a massacre. The most powerful country in the world smashed a great historic city.... When this war is over we will do everything we can to take those responsible to the International War Crimes Tribunal." "People often ask me" he said, "What about our boys over there? I tell them if I had boys and they threatened to beat up old ladies I would ask them to stop." Bruce Kent pointed out that the British troops in Iraq are commanded by General Jackson, who did refuse certain orders during the war in Bosnia. He said he hoped the general would refuse to obey orders now which are immoral. Praising the young Israeli soldiers who refuse to take part in the occupation of the West Bank, he urged British troops to follow their example. Further demonstrations were held in cities across the UK and at US military bases in Gloucestershire and Yorkshire. At the US surveillance centre in Menwith Hill in Yorkshire, more than 1,000 people arrived clad in tin foil or waving foil banners, which organisers hoped would disrupt communications by blocking satellite signals. Thousands marched from Fairford Town in Gloucestershire to the local RAF base, where US B-52 bombers are based. The bombers are believed to have played a key role in Friday night's strikes on Iraq. Thousands of people also took to the streets of Bristol, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Inverness and Dundee. There were also major anti-war protests in cities around the world. Many Catholic churches are holding prayers for peace each Friday evening while the war continues.

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