Direct action call

The South West regional anti-war demonstration in Exeter on Saturday March 15 was massive. It was the biggest anti-war or left demonstration in the town certainly since the 1970s. The police estimated that 2,500 took part, but Exeter Stop the War put the figure at well over 3,500 - about double the size of the anti-poll tax protests back in 1990. Protestors came from around the region with contingents from Penzance, Bodmin, Plymouth, Exmouth, Dawlish, Taunton, North Devon, West Dorset, Tiverton and Totnes, to name but a few. The atmosphere on the march was carnival-like with the aid at the back of the march of one wonderful samba band which kept up some very lively street music. It was also a beautiful day with bright sunshine (this correspondent actually managed to get home on this spring day with sunburn!). The rally at the end of the march was considerably delayed due to the fact that the entrance to Northernhay gardens was so packed that the march had difficulty getting into the park. The rally featured a guest appearance by Billy Bragg. Other speakers included CND chair Carol Naughton and representatives from the Stop the War Coalition, Socialist Alliance, Green Party, Liberals and the Islamic Centre for the South West. A number of the speakers referred to the need for walkouts and other direct action on the day war breaks out. Support was also urged for protests at the various military bases in the region. Dave Parks