London: Peace groups to hold alternative Armistice Day ceremony


British gas casualties Estaires 1918

British gas casualties Estaires 1918

Eleven peace groups will hold an alternative Remembrance commemoration on Armistice Day this Sunday - the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. The ceremony, taking place in Tavistock Square in central London, will include contributions from acclaimed poet Michael Mears and veteran campaigners for peace. Participants will then lay wreaths at the conscientious objectors' stone in the square and recite a pledge to work for peace.

"This event will recognise the loss of all lives in war, in contrast to the state-sponsored Remembrance ceremony which focuses on British armed forces" said Oliver Robertson from the First World War Peace Forum, which is organising the event. "Our commemoration will recommit people to the message of 'Never Again' that came from the war to end all wars."

"It is always galling when the government talks about the horrors of war while exposing more people to it," added Oliver Robertson. "War is always a choice, and it's a choice to shut down other means of resolving conflict."

The ceremony, which begins at 1pm on Sunday 11 November, will be followed by a 'peace festival' in nearby Friends House, the headquarters of British Quakers. The festival will include films, talks, craft activities and stalls from a wide range of peace groups, as well as children's activities run by the Woodcraft Folk.

"We want to showcase the great work for peace that is being carried out now across the country", said Pat Gaffney. "While we protest against war and violence, we also work to build a more peaceful future, and this festival is about celebrating and encouraging that.

The Peace Festival at Friends House, 173 Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ takes place between 2-5pm on Sunday 11 November. It includes 14 stalls run by different peace groups, seven peace-focused documentary films, craft activities and children's events. For more details, contact Sahdya Darr on sahdyad@quaker.org.uk

The First World War Peace Forum has been organising peace-focused commemorations throughout the centenary of WWI, from 2014-2019. Its members are: Anglican Pacifist Fellowship, Conscience: Taxes for Peace Not War, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Movement for the Abolition of War, Network for Peace, Pax Christi, Peace News, Peace Pledge Union, Quakers in Britain, Right to Refuse to Kill Group, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.

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