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Re: looking for Iraqis in Bristol or Somerset for Monday am radio interview



Monday August 7th

Embargo: 07.01 Monday 7th August


Whitehall standstill simulates Iraqi society



In London, over 300 protesters gathered peacefully at 1pm in Whitehall as 90 "died" on the doorstep of the Foreign Office, bringing traffic on Whitehall to a standstill. Among them were Ms. Caroline Lucas MEP (Green Party), Reggie Norton, former Oxfam Field Director and trustee, and Dave Rolstone, who on Sunday climbed up the London Eye. Four protesters were arrested for highway obstruction. After occupying Whitehall for 90 minutes the group held a minutes silence and laid wreaths at the Cenotaph in memory of the people killed by 10 years of sanctions.

Dr. Nadje al Ali, lecturer in social anthropology at the Institute of Arab and Islamic studies, University of Exeter, who was at the London protest said, "Today, on the doorstep of the Foreign Office we commemorated the Iraqis killed by 10 years of economic sanctions, our Government’s deadly weapon of mass destruction. Whitehall came to a standstill, just as Iraqi society has for the last ten years."

In Washington 500 protesters, among them Martin Sheen, have gathered to protest the sanctions, hundreds will commit civil disobedience.

Protesters from Trident Ploughshares 2000 and Women in Black gathered in Helensburgh Main Square at noon to protest the sanctions.

Economic sanctions were first imposed on Iraq on August 6 1990. In the decade since then, hundreds of thousands of children have died of starvation and disease brought on by the sanctions (1). Two former UN Humanitarian Co-ordinators for Iraq, Denis Halliday and Hans Von Sponeck, have resigned in protest at the effect sanctions are having on ordinary people in Iraq. Halliday stated that, "We are in the process of destroying an entire society. It is as simple and terrifying as that. It is illegal and immoral." Both have called for the economic sanctions to be lifted immediately.

The London demonstration was sponsored by a number of prominent groups and individuals, including Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop Of Wales, Denis Halliday, Hans Von Sponeck, Harold Pinter, Nabil Shaban, Jeremy Hardy, Mark Thomas, MPs Alice Mahon and Alan Simpson, Pax Christi and Red Pepper. The demonstration was organised by several groups including Voices in the Wilderness, Women in Black and Youth CND


FOR MORE INFORMATION: Richard 020 7267 2751 (after 8 August 020 8554 2205)

"On the street" mobile: Nadje 07801 931869

Caroline Lucas--Green Party press officer :Peter Lang 07769970691/ 020 7407 6281/80

Photos: Rob 07977 275 563

Scottish protest 01436 850522 Washington protest (cellphone) 001 202 258 4958

Notes for editors

1. UNICEF reported in 1999 that had the decreases in child mortality in Iraq in the 1980s continued into the 1990s, there would have been half a million fewer deaths of children under five in the years 1991-8. According to University of Colombia epidemiologist Dr Richard Garfield, most of these deaths were ‘primarily due to sanctions’. (UNICEF, Child and Maternal Mortality Survey 1999, Preliminary Report)

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