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Last Updated: Saturday, 24 February 2007, 23:16 GMT
Marchers who want 'troops out now'

Anti-war demo in London
Anti-war protesters demonstrate in Trafalgar Square, London

Anti-war campaigners took to the streets of London on Saturday to demand the scrapping of the Trident nuclear missile system, and the departure of all British troops from Iraq.

BBC News correspondent Barnie Choudhury joined them there.

Among some in the media covering this latest anti-war march there seemed to be a world-weariness.

"Another day, another demo," one seasoned hack remarked.

But among those who had spent hours travelling by coach to get to London there was a passionate belief that what they were doing was right. They wanted to get their message to Britain's top politicians.

With the thousands who descended on Speakers' Corner at Hyde Park were two Iraqi sisters. Their names are Dania and Rusul Morhij. They have come to Britain to train as doctors.

"Before the war life was easy in Baghdad," they told me.

"We were able to study and able to work. Since the occupation life has turned upside down and we cannot walk in the streets and have normal lives."

These young women, who speak perfect English, are not alone in having this view.

Not surprisingly, every Iraqi I spoke to at this demonstration said their country was "under occupation" and they would go back "once it was safe to do so".

Woman in underwear

There was music to entertain the crowds. The slogans too have become familiar.

"What do we want?" starts the chant. "Troops out" comes the reply. "When do we want it?" it continues. "Now," they scream, and so it goes on.

Bizarrely a woman in her underwear wanted to join in, running in and out of the lines. Her pictures will, no doubt, be in the Sunday newspapers.

Of note among the marchers was Dave Nellist, the former Labour MP, expelled from his party and once House of Commons room mate of one Tony Blair. Mr Nellist hopes the prime minister will listen to opposing voices.

"This is tens of thousands of people saying don't spend 76bn blowing people up," he argues passionately.

"Spend it on public services instead."

Even when they had completed the walk to Trafalgar Square the campaigners were still in full voice.

Speaker after speaker condemned Britain's foreign policy. But Tony Blair has said "we do not desire our forces to remain any longer than they are needed".

For those attending on Saturday, that moment cannot come soon enough.


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