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EDITIONS
Saturday, 18 January, 2003, 16:43 GMT
Peaceful unity on Bradford's streets
Generic demonstration
More than a thousand people marched in Bradford

On an average Saturday, Lister Park in Bradford is quiet, the domain of dog-walkers and bike riders.

Today was different though.

Hundreds of protesters, with placards aloft, started gathering at midday.

Amongst them were Jewish and Muslim groups, peace activists and local politicians, all with a common cause.

Carole Norton, the national chairman of CND, believes the anti-war campaign is one that cuts across the community.

Elizabeth Dever
Elizabeth Dever: "Morally unjust"
"There's people from all over the community, there's people here from different religions, different backgrounds and that's great, everybody is coming together to make a stance against this war."

The organisers hoped 1,000 people would turn out for the march. In the event three times that number showed up.

Elizabeth Dever was among the marchers, and believes that by taking to the streets today, her voice will be heard.

"I think that the more people that turn out to demonstrate means that Blair can't possibly justify going to war in the name of the people of Britain" she says.

Elizabeth is opposed to war in Iraq because she claims it is "morally unjust" .

Peaceful demonstration

"Iraq is on its knees as a result of sanctions and I don't think bombing them is going to help the situation at all," she adds.

Marching across Bradford with banners and flags and chanting for peace, the demonstration was itself peaceful.

A police helicopter circled overhead and officers on horseback rode alongside as the as the sea of banners moved slowly across Bradford to regroup in the city's centenary square.

Saskia Solomons
Saskia Solomons: "People are worried"
It was here amid the chants and the sounds of a jazz band another demonstrator, Saskia Solomons, explained the impetus behind the march.

"This is about people getting together and fighting for a cause" she said.

"It's not just politicians, people across the nation are worried about this war."

After the rally, religious groups from across Bradford will come together to hold an interfaith vigil in the square.

Reverend Geoff Reid, from Bradford's Methodist Touchstone Centre, is one of those taking part.

Church opposition

He talks of the considerable depth of anti-war feeling in the district and says that he has "never before seen such unanimity amongst the churches on a single political issue".

"I know there are some Christians who believe it is right to go to war, but you have to look very hard to find them," says Reverend Reid.

"The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster and other Church leaders have been very clear in their opposition to the line taken by British and American governments."

Bradford isn't alone. Across the country vigils and rallies are in progress and worldwide protests have also been taking place throughout the day.

The protesters believe that it is not too late to make their voices heard and that campaigning en-masse is the only way to make a difference.


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