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[casi] Children protest over cluster bombs // Children protest against deadly cluster bombs

Sunday, 17 August, 2003

BBC News: Children protest over cluster bombs

The children took their protest to 10 Downing Street.

Children wearing bandages covered in fake blood have marched
to Downing Street in a protest against the use of cluster

The members of the pressure group Children Against the War
released anti-cluster balloons and performed a short play on
the tragedy of a child's death from unexploded bombs.

The aim was to highlight the continuing impact on children
in Iraq of unexploded cluster munitions used by British and
American forces.

Sunday's protest comes just days after a coroner called on
the Ministry of Defence to review its use of cluster bombs
following the death of a British soldier who was killed
trying to make an area safe for Iraqi farmers.

The group made a long banner in Parliament Square reading
"Kids Say No to Clusters", using brightly coloured hand

Immediate ban

They then walked to Downing Street where a smaller group was
allowed to carry placards and a banner up the door of Number

They delivered a letter asking Prime Minister Tony Blair to
explain why it was necessary to use cluster bombs.

It also demanded an immediate ban on their use and called
for the government to take responsibility for clearing
unexploded bombs which have already dropped.

The children were joined by other campaigners from Voices
UK, and members of CND.
The children took their protest to 10 Downing Street

Children Against the War's eight-year-old spokeswoman,
Sonia, from London, said she was angry that children could
still be maimed and killed long after the war had ended.

On Friday an inquest heard how bomb disposal expert Chris
Muir, 32, from Romsey, Hampshire, was killed while trying to
defuse "bomblets" released by a cluster bomb in southern
Iraq on 31 March.

The staff sergeant, from the Army School of Ammunition in
Kineton, Warwickshire, had defused more than 100 bomblets
when one exploded.

'Legitimate role'

An inquest into his death heard how 30% of cluster bomblets
fail to detonate when dropped on sandy ground.

But an MoD spokesman defended their use.

He told BBC News Online: "We do use cluster bombs. They are
legal weapons.

"As long as our potential enemies have weapons of a similar
kind then it would be unfair not to allow our forces to act
in a similar way.

"Cluster bombs fulfil a legitimate role and they are not
indiscriminate weapons.

"We make a note where we drop them and if we can, afterwards
we make sure that we clear the area."


Children protest against deadly cluster bombs

 18 August 2003

Kids have marched through London to complain about the use
of deadly cluster bombs, which have killed innocent people
all over the world.  They used handprints to make their

Members of Children Against The War met outside the Houses
of Parliament before marching to Prime Minister Tony Blair's
home to continue their protest. They used their handprints
to make a banner which read: "Kids say no to clusters." Some
kids were keen to highlight the terrible injuries caused by
the bombs, so they wore bandages and fake blood. They also
performed a play and released balloons as part of their
protest. Mini-bombs

Fact File
Cluster bombs

    Open in mid-air and send out loads of mini-bombs
    Can be launched from the air or rocket launchers
    Up to 30% of the mini-bombs don't explode
    They get less stable with each passing year
    They can explode at the slightest touch

They want the US and UK forces to stop using the bombs.
Cluster bombs contain loads of mini-bombs, which can scatter
to cover an area as large as several football fields. But up
to 30% of the bombs don't explode. They often remain there
for years after the conflict. Unusual shape Kids are
attracted to them because of their unusual shape and bright
colours. The bombs can be triggered just by someone touching
them. Cluster bombs have been dropped in Iraq, Afghanistan
and Laos among other countries.

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