Today marks the 10th Anniversary of the war against Afghanistan. This morning peace activists gathered outside Downing Street in a protest organised by the London Catholic Worker. Red paint was poured on the pavement outside the gates to symbolise the blood of the 25,000 civilians and 2,500 soldiers who have been killed or wounded in the last decade. 6 people then blockaded the entrance to Downing Street for an hour before they were arrested. The 6 are John Lynes, Ciaron O’Reilly, Maya Evans, Ben Griffin, Chris Cole and Martin Newell.
In a jointly prepared statement the six declared:
“Today, 7 October 2011, marks ten years of non-stop war. For a decade British, US and NATO forces have been engaged in an on-going war in Afghanistan which has caused the deaths of thousands , wounded countless numbers, destroyed local communities and uprooted families.
The war has been going on so long we have forgotten the reason it started. Was it to capture Bin Laden? To remove the Taliban? To bring peace and human rights to the people of Afghanistan? To make the world a safer place? All these reasons – and more – have been used to try to justify the death and destruction.
The reality of course is that war cannot bring peace, nor armed violence solve political problems. Just the opposite in fact. Ten years is much more than enough time to learn this lesson. Let us bury the dead, heal the wounded and end the war.
By coincidence today also marks the 500th day of U.S. Army Specialist Bradley Manning’s imprisonment. Bradley has been accused of releasing footage of a U.S. helicopter gunship massacre of civilians in Iraq (see the footage at www.collateralmurder.com). We call for the immediate release of Bradley Manning and also for the release of British military refusenik Michael Lyons.”