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Wednesday, 18 September, 2002, 12:45 GMT 13:45 UK
British stars press for peace
musician Pandit G, actress Susannah Harker, National Union of Journalists general secretary Jeremy Dear, actresses Jemma Redgrave and Frances de la Tour and actor Malcolm Tierney
The group's delegation outside 10 Downing Street
Stars including members of Massive Attack, Blur and other artists set out their opposition to war on Iraq in a letter delivered to Downing Street on Wednesday morning.

A roster of celebrities including playwright Harold Pinter, director Ken Loach, and avant-garde musician Brian Eno are among the signatories.

The open letter urges the government not to back an American attack on the Middle East state.

Author Jeanette Winterson
Authors are among those protesting
Actress Jemma Redgrave was among the delegation, along with fellow performers Frances De La Tour and Susannah Harker, and Asian Dub Foundation musician Pandit G.

More than 100 actors, writers, musicians and playwrights said attacks on Iraq would be "unjustifiable" and could have "potentially horrific ramifications".

Organised by the Stop the War coalition, the letter was also supported by actress Catherine McCormack, TV presenter Mark Lamarr, writer Lucy Irvine, comedian Mark Thomas and author Jeanette Winterson.

It read: "Under the present circumstances we believe an invasion of Iraq would be unjustifiable and could have potentially horrific ramifications.

"It would open a Pandora's box which may be impossible to close.

"Nations across the Middle East as well as many of our European neighbours have indicated their opposition to an attack on Iraq, which presents terrible dangers to the region and the world.

Anti-war signatory: Damon Albarn
Anti-war signatory: Damon Albarn
Military assault

Pinter in particular has a long track record on opposing military action, having already passionately attacked action against Iraq, the war on Afghanistan and even the bombing of Kosovo.

The letter continued: "We urge the British Government to announce it will not support any military assault being planned by the USA and will listen to both world opinion and the clear views of its own electorate."

Roger Lloyd Pack - father of actress Emily and star of Only Fools And Horses - said Saddam Hussein's offer to allow weapons inspectors back in should be taken seriously.

He said: "Now that we have got this offer from Saddam we should take it at face value.

Actresses Jemma Redgrave (left) and Susannah Harker
Actresses Jemma Redgrave and Susannah Harker in Downing Street
"We know that he is a two-faced, conniving son-of-a-bitch but we should do everything that we can to avoid war with Iraq.

"It would create havoc in the Middle East and destabilise the already fragile world."

Actress Susannah Harker, of House of Cards and Pride and Prejudice, said supporting the anti-war campaign was a "moral stance" for her.

She said: "If this is about producing weapons of destruction I think that America is the worst culprit and they should be dealt with first.

"We should be dealing with this politically. It is very, very dangerous and war is a bad idea."

The letter also called on the British public to join a demonstration in London on Saturday.

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