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Tuesday, 16 October, 2001, 12:57 GMT 13:57 UK
Labour MPs call for bombing halt
Anti-war posters held-up at a protest rally in London
Muslims, CND and the Greens have held anti-war rallies
A group of outspoken Labour MPs has joined voices calling for an end to military action in Afghanistan.

Until now British political opposition to the bombing has been dominated by the Green Party, which has helped organise protest rallies and recorded a message of support for broadcast within Afghanistan.

Labour anti-bombing MPs
Paul Marsden (Shrewsbury and Atcham)
Alan Simpson (Nottingham South)
Robert Marshall-Andrews (Medway)
Alice Mahon (Halifax)
Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow)
Lynne Jones (Birmingham Selly Oak)
Now six MPs - led by longest serving Commons member Tam Dalyell - have put their names to a parliamentary motion calling for a halt to the US-led military action.

The strikes are handing a "daily propaganda victory" to the terrorists behind the 11 September attacks on the United States, the motion says.

It reads: "The grief and suffering of innocent victims in the USA cannot be answered by the bombing and starvation of equally innocent victims in Afghanistan.

"The bombing of Afghanistan has resulted in tens of thousands more people fleeing their homes, has handed a daily propaganda victory to terrorists and has caused substantial civilian deaths and injuries."

Humanitarian crisis

The MPs also highlight the United Nations' warning of a looming humanitarian crisis of "stunning proportions".

More than five million people, the vast majority women and children, were faced with a "fragile grip on survival this winter".

In the motion they call on the government to "halt the bombing and urge the United States to do likewise".

Tam Dalyell
Tam Dalyell is the UK's longest serving MP
The motion was tabled the day after the Green Party announced its principal speaker, Margaret Wright, had recorded a special message for Aghans at the invitation of Iranian state broadcasting.

In it she said Afghans had "already suffered enough" from over 20 years of war with Russia.

"We Greens roundly condemn the bombing of your country by the US and British governments, and hope it will be possible to restore your land, your economy, your way of life free from outside interference but with the support of the world community.

"We do not support the Taleban, and we condemn the terrorist attacks in the USA on 11 September.

"We believe the perpetrators must be brought to justice through international courts, but meeting violence with violence is no solution."

Propaganda campaign

At the same time John Norris, the party's peace and defence speaker, attacked "tokenistic" western aid efforts.

Claims the aid was getting through, made by International Development Secretary Clare Short, were "severely misleading", he said.

"The so-called aid effort is part of a propaganda campaign aimed at fooling Western voters into believing the bombing is a reasonable policy that isn't harming the people of Afghanistan.

"As such, Ms Short's statements on aid are in fact part of the war effort, not part of a genuine humanitarian effort."

On Tuesday Caroline Lucas, Green MEP for south east England, said in article for the Morning Star newspaper that to put an end to terrorism, its causes had to be addressed.

"The world did not change when the Twin Towers were destroyed", she said.

"This was one more horrifying and unjustified attack against human life, perpetrated by one more group of people pursuing policy by other means."

The BBC's Susan Hulme
reviews yesterday's events in parliament

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13 Oct 01 | UK
Protesting for peace
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