LONDON - Family members of British soldiers killed in Iraq will camp outside Downing Street on Tuesday, to protest at the political decision to deny the families legal aid in their campaign to bring the Prime Minister to account for the Iraq war.
Rose Gentle, Susan Smith, Carla Hewett and Peter Brierley are appealing to the public for donations to fund their campaign for a public inquiry. Mrs Gentle said "Tony Blair has refused to meet me. We were told we would receive legal aid. Now it is denied us. We are being gagged."
The camp has been inspired by Camp Casey in America, the protest started by Cindy Sheehan outside George Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas when her son Casey was killed in Iraq. The US President and the British Prime Minister have both refused to meet the bereaved families.
A spokesman for the families said: "We believe the war has been fought on the basis of lies and we consider that the war was illegal. Families on both sides of the Atlantic will not rest until George Bush and Tony Blair face them and take responsibility for their actions. Rose and Susan welcome any support."
The camp will be visited by a delegation of anti-war MPs led by Jeremy Corbyn MP at 3.30pm on Tuesday.
On Wednesday at 11am the military families will join Clare Short MP to deliver a letter to Downing Street seeking government support for the the Armed Forces (Parliamentary Approval for Participation in Armed Conflicts) bill.
Members of the public can donate to the Military Families Against the War legal fund by calling 020 7278 6694 or online at www.mfaw.org.uk
DOWNING STREET PEACE CAMP - PROGRAMME OF ACTIVITIES
TUESDAY 18th OCTOBER 2005
15.00 Downing Street Peace Camp begins
15.30 PRESS CALL: anti-war MPs to visit the camp
16.00 PHOTO OPPORTUNITY: Rose and Susan to lay flowers at the gates of Downing Street
18.00 School Students Against War to visit the camp
19.00 Poets for Peace
20.00 Rose and Susan to visit Brian Haw, the Parliament Square peace protestor