Anti-racism society stage protest against Syrian air strikes

They said Warwick uni has ‘blood on their hands’


Nearly 100 protesters gathered on campus on Friday to protest the government’s decision to extend RAF airstrikes to IS targets in Syria.

The event, organised by the Warwick Anti-Racism Society (WARS), featured numerous banners, chanting and a series of speeches from guests.

Having been organised on Facebook upon the basis that protesting would “send a clear message to the warmongers in parliament”, up to 500 people were anticipated to congregate outside Senate House.

While the demonstration didn’t come close to attracting such a big crowd, a considerable number nonetheless stood, chanted, and listened to rousing speeches for an hour.

The demonstration took place two days after the House of Commons voted by 397 to 223 in favour of an extension of airstrikes against IS targets into Syria. The first paveway bombs, carried by Tornado GR4 aircraft based at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus, had already hit their targets in the Omar oilfield in eastern Syria by the time the protest was being organised on Thursday.

IMG_0682

Many of those attending brought their own banners, and while the vast majority simply read “don’t bomb Syria”, some focused their efforts upon the controversial relationship between Warwick University and BAE Systems.

This relationship, which has existed since 1997, has delivered considerable investment into projects at the university, but those attending the rally on Friday held banners suggesting Warwick had “blood on their hands” for being associated with the arms corporation, which supplies much of the British hardware used during Syrian air strikes.

It was also alleged, in particular by WARS, that this was an “imperial” war, and that Britain’s parliament was exposing its “imperialist agenda” in extending air strikes.

IMG_0680

Speeches and poems, emotively delivered via megaphone to the crowd, were the main focus of the protest. Rami Yasir said “Today was the day the British parliament decided to add to the rain”, before strongly denouncing anyone who defended what was happening or who “wished our boys in the RAF luck”.

Jim Maden, a member of the crowd, told The Tab the protest was a “symbolic gesture” while Sophie Hartles said: “It’s nice to see there’s still some humanity left in the world.”