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Anti-War Protesters Plan Day of Civil Disobedience
Published on Thursday, October 31, 2002 by the Guardian/UK
Anti-War Protesters Plan Day of Civil Disobedience
by Matthew Tempest

Thousands of people were today expected to take part in a series of demonstrations up and down Britain to protest against military action on Iraq.

The Stop the War umbrella group was hoping for "the largest protest of direct action and disobedience there has been in Britain for decades", with mini-protests, sit-downs and occupations "from Beccles to Bournemouth, Canterbury to Aberdeen".

The spark for today's day of action came from comments made by Tony Benn last summer.

In a departure from his normal aversion to civil disobedience as a form of protest, the former Labour cabinet minister said: "Non-violent resistance to the government will show they cannot do this in our name. We should stop the buses, stop the trains, stop the schools."

Following last month's Stop the War march in London, attended by up to 400,000 protesters, the group has called on supporters to organize their own local acts of civil disobedience. It advocates three forms of protest:

· Meetings in or near the workplace with anti-war speakers, perhaps with a local march
•: College occupations and teach-ins
· Evening protests in town centers, where demonstrators are urged by Stop the War to sit down and block traffic.

In London, protesters will rally at Parliament Square, as MPs leave the Commons for their constituencies at the end of the parliamentary working week.

Stop the War has called for all protests to be peaceful and urged demonstrators to bring banners, whistles, drums and candles.

Occupation of Goldsmiths college
Occupation of the School of Oriental and African Studies
Kings College Strand site Stop the War meeting

Protest outside Camberwell Art College followed by march into Peckham to join council workers protest
Southgate College (Enfield) StW meeting

Kings College (Guys site) StW rally in central square
Elephant & Castle roundabout, students from Southbank and London College of Printing converge
LSE Student Union meeting - vote on occupation
Wimbledon Art College StW meeting
Queen Mary University student union meeting - vote on occupation
Middlesex University, Tottenham campus, StW conga starts
Greenwich University StW meeting
University of North London - protest outside Tower building
Westminster University StW meeting
Paul Foot, campaigner and journalist, holds public meeting at the Stephen Lacey gallery, Crawford Passage, EC1

LSE occupation begins

Rally in main square at UCL, followed by march down to LSE

All London students assemble at LSE for march down Embankment to parliament

Not all the capital's events are student-initiated. In Brixton there is a rally at noon outside the town hall, followed by a march and possible attempt to stop traffic outside the Ritzy cinema at 5pm. There are similar rallies in Wandsworth and Peckham, Dulwich and Croydon and the East End.

Other major cities

· Manchester: Don't Attack Iraq Protest, All Saints Park, Oxford Road 6pm
· Nottingham: "day of general mayhem", Market Square, 5pm onwards
· Plymouth: march, rally and vigil, Pier Approach 5.30pm
· Sheffield: mass rally, followed by other action at 6pm, Town Hall steps - from 4.30pm
· Leeds: Pedal for Peace, Briggate city Centre, 3pm
· Birmingham: mass die in - and fall over, Waterstones bookshop, New Street 5pm
· Liverpool: protest and non-violent disobedience, St George's Plateau (opposite Lime Street station), 6pm
· Newcastle: march through city, Monument 6pm
· Middlesbrough: "noisy vigil", Forces Recruitment Office, Borough Road 6pm
· Bournemouth rally: speakers & candlelit vigil at the war memorial in the middle gardens 6pm

© Guardian Newspapers Limited 2002


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