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Report on Rally, September 18th Around 60 people attended a rally in Manchester. The theme of the rally was; Stop the bombing of Iraq, lift the blockade. The audience comprised various Iraqis, local campaigners, interested passers by and others who had come especially, including a group from Liverpool, People against Global Imperialism. The rally, called by Greater Manchester Coalition Against the Bombings and Sanctions on Iraq, was chaired by the publicity officer of Oldham NUT, Publicity Officer, Jason Travis and addressed by various speakers, Hussein from the Iraqi community, Gabriel Carlyle from 'voices in the wilderness', Rae Street from the Manchester based national Campaign Against Depleted Uranium, Dick Withecombe from Greater Manchester Against War in the Balkans, Antonis Partasis, a member of the AEEU and campaigner from the Communist League (who help produce the paper The Militant) who is facing prosecution from Wigan council for campaigning against the bombing of Iraq for 'illegal trading' (i.e. selling left wing literature) and Karen Reismann a member of UNISON from the Socialist Workers' Party. Apologies were sent from Kerim Yildiz, from the Kurdish Human Rights Project, who had been trying to, but in the end couldn't, at the last minute, rearrange a flight to Strasbourg to prepare evidence for a human rights case there. The main theme was highlighting the desperate plight of Iraq's population, from malnutrition, disease and cancer, with the virtual collapse of electricity and clean water in many areas further exacerbating dreadful conditions. It was argued to general applause that we, the ordinary working class people of Britain, are the same in our interests as Iraqis, Kurds, Serbs, Kosovars and that it is in the formation of international alliances of working class people that there is hope for maximum pressure for a lasting solution. The only hitch was that shortly before we were due to start, when banners had been put up, we were asked to take them down by a council official with police back up. Through sensitive negotiation we managed to 'compromise' that we could keep them up for twenty minutes- fortunately on his return he told us that he had checked and we were allowed to hold the demonstration. The only problem was that this had meant a slight change of the starting point- most people soon realised where we were, though a few may have drifted away. All in all, it was a success to be built upon and improved. Greater Manchester Coalition Against the Bombings and Sanctions on Iraq is a democratic non-exclusionary united front of activists, trades unionists, antiracists, and others wishing to campaign against the onslaught against the Iraqi people. We aim to make links and contacts with other organisations, both community and trades union grassroots, within the UK, Europe, the US, the Middle East and beyond to help set up a network of information about campaigning around this issue. We also have close links with campaigners against war in the Balkans and other solidarity campaigns such as Kurdistan solidarity. Jason Travis Please forward this message and reply. Please publicise and or publish (in full or abridged form) where possible. -- ------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email email@example.com, NOT the whole list. Please do not send emails with attached files to the list *** Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html ***