Esher gets taste of war protest

Saturday April 12 2003 was a day of demonstration, and not just in the streets of London. The Home County communities of Hersham and Esher in Surrey got a taste of protest too. A small group affiliated to the Surrey Stop the War Coalition assembled on Hersham Green - much to the bemusement of local shoppers. At one point it looked as if there would be more marshals than marshalees. However numbers slowly grew to around 60 marchers. The group marched slowly through the town, setting many a net-curtain twitching. Once assembled on Esher Green, speeches began. John McDonald MP, of Labour Against the War, reminded us that when pausing to honour the dead, we must think of all the dead. Soldiers of both sides as well as civilian men, women and children. The US-UK coalition may feel vindicated. But what has been the human cost of imposing neo-colonialism? Mick Moriarty (Labour) and Sandra Simkin (Green Party) also graced the soapbox. But they had little new to say. Then Jeremy Butler (CPGB) took the stand. He demanded passionately that the Stop the War Coalition take on the mantle of fighting the corner of the Iraqi people and all oppressed peoples of the world. His words were well received - as well received as one can be when delivering a speech on a village green to the sound of wedding bells. It was refreshing to hear the message of anti-imperialism and communism in the heart of Surrey. Rae Hancock