Published by The Guardian[PDF]
Sam Jones and Girish Gupta
Photo: Girish Gupta
The organisers of a national demonstration
against the war say a turning
point has been reached in public support
for the conflict, with the recent
heavy troop casualties forcing many
people to question Britain’s involvement.
The Stop the War Coalition,
which co-ordinated the huge protest
against the invasion of Iraq in February
2003, is planning a Troops Out of
Afghanistan march on 24 October.
The coalition acknowledges that the
Iraq march was unique but said the
public was now ready to show that it
no longer accepted the government’s
reasons for the continuing presence in
Afghanistan. It estimates that between
50,000 and 100,000 protesters will
take part in the march in October. At
least a million were at the Iraq protest.
Andrew Burgin, a spokesman for the
coalition, said: “The tipping point was
the increasing casualty rates in July.
People began to ask more serious questions
of their politicians .” However,
an ICM poll for the Guardian and BBC
Newsnight in mid-July – when British
military deaths in Afghanistan passed
those in Iraq – found that 47% backed
the war, against 46% who opposed it.