Hundreds attend "International Peace Conference"

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Sunday, December 11, 2005

On Saturday 10 December 2005, Tony Benn spoke to around 1,500 people at the opening rally of a peace conference at the Royal Horticultural Hall in London organised by the Stop the War Coalition in opposition to the occupation of Iraq. Tony Benn told the amassed conference delegates that the anti-war movement, which is calling for troops to be withdrawn from Iraq, is the biggest he had seen in his lifetime.

Throughout the long day, from 10am to 8pm, there were 33 speakers in total. Among these was Cindy Sheehan, American anti-war activist whose son, a soldier, died in Iraq. She spoke in a session along with among others Reg Keys and Rose Gentle from Military Families Against the War. Several speakers who had travelled from Iraq spoke, including Hassan Juma, president of the Iraqi trade union the Southern Oil Workers' Union. He condemned what he claimed were attempts by America to strip Iraq through privatizing its services. Sheikh Hussein al Zagani, a representative of Muqtada al-Sadr, was due to speak at the conference but was reportedly denied a visa.[1]

George Galloway, the RESPECT MP, closed the conference in a speech in which he urged people to build for a planned international demonstration on the 18th of March next year.


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