Brown urged to pull out troops
By TOM HARVEY
June 24, 2007
TONY Blair was today branded a “dangerous warmonger” as anti-war activists called on his successor to pull troops out of Iraq.
Thousands of people staged a noisy demonstration outside Labour’s special leadership conference in Manchester, marching with banners which read: “Troops Out”.
The Stop The War Coalition said one of the first announcements by Gordon Brown when he becomes Prime Minister on Wednesday should be the withdrawal of British forces from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Chairman Andrew Murray said at a city centre rally: “We are here to wave goodbye to the most dangerous and warmongering prime minister in modern British history and to demand that he takes his policies with him.
“The Pope may forgive Tony Blair but the British people will not. We are demanding that Gordon Brown gives us a fresh start by pulling troops out of Iraq and breaking with George Bush’s foreign policy.”
The Coalition’s convener Lindsey German said: “Four million Iraqis are now refugees and the number of deaths in that country is now greater than all the British civilian and military casualties in the Second World War, so I say good riddance to Tony Blair.
“Our message to Gordon Brown is that he cannot carry on with the same disastrous policies. The so-called war on terror has created two failed occupations which has led to incredible instability across the Middle East.
“We have to change course, otherwise the war will simply go on with many more deaths.”
Kate Hudson, chairwoman of CND, said: “Of all the morally reprehensible things that the Labour party has done in the last 10 years, going to war in Iraq and deciding to replace Trident nuclear weapons are the worst.
“With a new leader we need a new foreign policy.”
The names of soldiers killed in Iraq were read out at the rally and organisers were planning to hand in a letter to the Labour conference, signed by thousands of members of the public, actors, musicians and other celebrities, urging Mr Brown to pull troops out of Iraq by October at the latest.
Thousands of people joined the march from across the country.
Two people, a 32-year-old man and a 50-year-old woman, were arrested for public order offences but police said the march passed off peacefully.
A spokesperson for Greater Manchester Police said: “Police would commend the actions of the marchers and pass on our appreciation to the Stop the War Coalition for their co-operation.”