Read

User menu

Search form

UK Unites in Protests in response to aggressive western intervention in Syria

UK Unites in Protests in response to aggressive western intervention in Syria
Thu, 4/19/2018 - by Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead

On the morning of Saturday, April 14, feelings of dismay, disbelief and division engulfed Britain after the nation awoke to images of RAF tornadoes loaded with missiles taking to the night sky on flight to Syria.

The military action was Britain’s contribution to a coordinated airstrike in Syria with the U.S. and France to punish Assad regime for its alleged chemical weapons attack on the city of Douma a week earlier.

Now, far from being appeased by Prime Minister Theresa May's avowals that the UK "had no other choice" but to launch airstrikes on Syria, and that Britain had an obligation to deter Assad from using chemical weapons, aversion toward the country’s military involvement is snowballing.

The public's incredulity over the UK government’s decision to take part in the U.S.-led attack was heightened by the fact that May refused to seek parliamentary consent prior to launching the airstrikes. Suggestions have been made that the prime minister averted a Commons vote because she knew it was unlikely to win approval.

In response to May’s avoidance of parliamentary procedure, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn called for a War Powers Act to be introduced. The act would stop May from launching bombing raids without consulting Members of Parliament first.

“I think what we need in this country is something more robust like a War Powers Act, so governments do get held to account by parliament for what they do in our name,” Corbyn said on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show the morning after the overnight raids on Syria. Corbyn has also questioned the legality of the attack because it was not backed by the United Nations Security Council.

In an emotional speech earlier this week in the House of Commons, Labour MP Alison McGovern urged fellow members to consider a “comprehensive strategy” in Syria to protect civilian life. Quoting her late friend and fellow Labour MP Jo Cox, who was murdered by a far-right extremist after a constituency meeting in 2016 just prior to the Brexit vote, McGovern said that burying our head in the sand is not an option.

“We need to consider beginning a new road map here in the UK for Syria. We need to start from a simple question: What can be done to save human life? Not our simple short-term interests but the humanitarian principle.”

The intense debate and opposition growing aorund Britain’s decision to go hand-in-hand with Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron to bomb Syrian targets is by no means confined to Westminster.

The prime minister fought to defend her decision before a house of ruffled MPs demanding answers, as hundreds gathered in London’s Parliament Square. A sea of placards reading “Stop Bombing Syria” and “Not in My Name” accompanied chants of “One, two, three, four, we don’t want another war!” as protesters danced through Parliament Square.

Several MPs addressed the crowd, appealing to “get behind Jeremy Corbyn’s call for a War Powers Act.” Dismay was voiced about Theresa May following Donald Trump’s “whims”, as Labour MP for Leeds East Richard Burgon said: “This [military attack in Syria] does not help the Syrian people move closer to a peaceful, diplomatic solution. Peace won’t be advanced by the PM taking orders from Trump’s tweets.” Elsewhere, protests over the UK’s bombing of Syria have been bringing cities to a standstill. On the evening of April 16th, traffic was halted in Bristol city centre, where a large-scale protest took place in rush hour against western military action in Syria.

The rally, which was organised by Bristol Stop the War Coalition, saw hordes of activists and protesters gather in the city and march down Bristol’s streets. The protest was described as being different to other politically-inspired marches. As Bristol Live’s reporter noted: “While many of the usual faces from Bristol’s activism scene were present, the scale of the protest (at such short notice) set this march apart from many of the others. The Bristol Stop the War Coalition had just a few short days to organise this demonstration that saw hundreds of protesters block the streets and march during the busiest time of the day. The scores of marchers made a striking impression on bystanders with their booming cries of “don’t bomb Syria” and “Trump and May have got to go.” Stop the War Protests were also held in Swansea, Exeter and Milton Keynes, driven by the anti-war group’s message that “any Western attack would lead to more death and destruction and would deepen the misery of the Syrian people.” 

The high level of opposition shown towards the UK’s aggressive intervention in Syrian is backed up by YouGov research, which reveals more people in Britain are against the UK and allied countries launching missile strikes against Syria than they are for it. The YouGov poll shows that fewer than a quarter of Britons (22%) say they are in support of such attacks, compared to 43% (almost twice as many) in opposition of the military action. This is despite the fact 61% of Britons believe that the Syrian government or their allies carried out the recent chemical attack in Douma. Jenny Madden, a 21-year-old student, summed up the aggrieved sentiment felt in Britain towards the Syrian airstrike, telling Occupy.com: “Theresa May and her allies couldn’t expect their decision to put more Syrian lives in danger, escalate conflict within a war-torn country and heighten tensions with Russia, to not lead to some kind of revolt?”

Sign Up

Article Tabs

Greek economic crisis, Greek bailout, Syriza party, Greek austerity measures, E.U. bailouts, Alexis Tsipras

Poverty, privatizations, debt – in Greece, which just officially "ended" its bailout program, the silent majority can't let go their fear that this might just be the prelude to something worse yet to come.

California, privatization, PG&E, investor-owned utilities, energy utilities, fire risk, fire damage, Global Climate Action Summit, public banks, energy prices, consumer fees

Oil companies heat and dry up the planet, power companies start fires on the dried up land – and we pay the bills.

cybersecurity programs, US cybersecurity, Fox journalists, Fox influence, biased reporting, Fox spin, Donald Trump

It’s not clear why 43-year-old Fox News general assignment reporter Lea Gabrielle would be the answer to the State Department's long-lasting cybersecurity problems.

Black Lives Matter is no longer a target for domestic oppression. The threat of their human rights work has now peaked the interest of oppressive entities abroad.

teacher strikes, treacher pay, union busting, right to work, Janus decision, teacher demands, union support

While many teachers and their unions in the major strike states are still in a watching and waiting mode, the revolt has spread and militancy is growing.

Greek economic crisis, Greek bailout, Syriza party, Greek austerity measures, E.U. bailouts, Alexis Tsipras

Poverty, privatizations, debt – in Greece, which just officially "ended" its bailout program, the silent majority can't let go their fear that this might just be the prelude to something worse yet to come.

“We just want to be able to take care of ourselves as men and women, in this Department of Corrections,” a strike participant from a South Carolina prison said.Photograph by David Paul Morris / Bloomberg / Getty

Wages for incarcerated workers are typically cents per hour, and several states—Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas, and South Carolina—use prisoner labor without paying them at all.

Occupy Wall Street, OWS, Occupy protests, Zuccotti Park, wealth inequality, Occupy anniversary

How a movement that eschewed electoral politics is now showing up everywhere in the 2018 progressive resurgence.

California, privatization, PG&E, investor-owned utilities, energy utilities, fire risk, fire damage, Global Climate Action Summit, public banks, energy prices, consumer fees

Oil companies heat and dry up the planet, power companies start fires on the dried up land – and we pay the bills.

too big to fail, public banks, public banking, Bank of North Dakota, financial crisis

When the next crisis hits, the public will once again be called upon to step in and bail out Wall Street. We need to start seriously preparing an alternative response: public banks.

cybersecurity programs, US cybersecurity, Fox journalists, Fox influence, biased reporting, Fox spin, Donald Trump

It’s not clear why 43-year-old Fox News general assignment reporter Lea Gabrielle would be the answer to the State Department's long-lasting cybersecurity problems.

Posted 5 days 20 hours ago

Black Lives Matter is no longer a target for domestic oppression. The threat of their human rights work has now peaked the interest of oppressive entities abroad.

Posted 6 days 22 hours ago
California, privatization, PG&E, investor-owned utilities, energy utilities, fire risk, fire damage, Global Climate Action Summit, public banks, energy prices, consumer fees

Oil companies heat and dry up the planet, power companies start fires on the dried up land – and we pay the bills.

Posted 1 day 19 hours ago
Illustration by Selman Design; Photographs by Tammy Bradshaw, Seth Wenig/Associated Press, Mark Makela for The New York Times, and Jeff Swensen for The New York Times.

Why the pitch from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders resonates in 2018.

Posted 6 days 22 hours ago
President Trump, Vice President Pence and first lady Melania Trump visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters in Washington, D.C., on June 6. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and FEMA Administrator Brock Long are seated at r

As Hurricane Florence bears down on the East Coast, a "reprehensible" disclosure.

Posted 5 days 21 hours ago
California, privatization, PG&E, investor-owned utilities, energy utilities, fire risk, fire damage, Global Climate Action Summit, public banks, energy prices, consumer fees

Oil companies heat and dry up the planet, power companies start fires on the dried up land – and we pay the bills.

Illustration by Selman Design; Photographs by Tammy Bradshaw, Seth Wenig/Associated Press, Mark Makela for The New York Times, and Jeff Swensen for The New York Times.

Why the pitch from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders resonates in 2018.

cybersecurity programs, US cybersecurity, Fox journalists, Fox influence, biased reporting, Fox spin, Donald Trump

It’s not clear why 43-year-old Fox News general assignment reporter Lea Gabrielle would be the answer to the State Department's long-lasting cybersecurity problems.

too big to fail, public banks, public banking, Bank of North Dakota, financial crisis

When the next crisis hits, the public will once again be called upon to step in and bail out Wall Street. We need to start seriously preparing an alternative response: public banks.

Black Lives Matter is no longer a target for domestic oppression. The threat of their human rights work has now peaked the interest of oppressive entities abroad.