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Saturday, 10 November, 2001, 16:31 GMT
Protesters demand end to bombing
protest march
About 200 protesters marched through York
Hundreds of protesters took to the streets across England to call for an end to the bombing of Afghanistan.

Police say the demonstrations, in towns and cities such as London, Blackburn and York, passed off peacefully.

One of the larger rallies was in Bolton, Greater Manchester, where 250 people gathered in the town's Victoria Square.

However a planned march in Blackburn, where organisers had declared up to 1,000 people were to take part, attracted only 30 participants.

In York, about 200 protesters called for an end to the war.

Osama Bin Laden and the Taleban are the true representatives of the Muslim world

Demonstration organiser Tasaddiq Rehman
During the two-hour demonstration, protesters chanted anti-war slogans and held aloft banners.

Demonstrators paused for a minute's silence in St Helen's Square in honour of the victims of the 11 September atrocities before progressing to St Sampson's Square where a People's Parliament was held.

Becky Chamberlain, 21, a history student at the York University said: "I'm not a pacifist but after weeks of bombing with an unknown number of innocent victims I feel enough is enough."

A spokesman for Lancashire Police said a demonstration of about 30 people in Blackburn passed off without incident.

The group marched in the town, which is within the constituency of Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, before hearing speeches outside the Town Hall.

One of the organisers, Tasaddiq Rehman, said the war against the Taleban and bin Laden was a war against the whole Muslim world.

'Crusader war'

"Osama Bin Laden and the Taleban are the true representatives of the Muslim world," he said.

"The Christian crusader war that's being declared against the Taleban and people of Afghanistan by Tony Blair and George Bush is a Christian war against the Muslim world, so therefore that war involves the Muslims of Britain.

"On that basis, the Muslims of Britain are at this very moment at war against the British and American Governments."

The demonstration followed a rally in Blackburn last month, when hundreds of Muslims gathered to protest against terrorism and the international response to it.

Quiet vigil

Anti-war protesters gathering for the CND vigil in London on Saturday afternoon were told by organisers not to chant or bring banners or placards.

September protest outside Downing Street
Anti-war protesters also gathered outside Downing Street in September
A CND spokeswoman said: "Our vigil will be in remembrance of those who died in the US on 11 September and those who are dying now as a result of the bombing of Afghanistan.

"It is not intended to rile people's anger but rather to stir their emotions and thoughts."

In north-west London, the World Ahul Bayt Islamic League (Wabil), which has members in 87 countries, held a conference to sign an Islamic declaration against terrorism.

Wabil secretary general Sayyed Mohammed Musawi said: "It has been a matter of deep regret that a tiny minority of misguided Muslims have made statements which appear to justify the terrorist acts of 11 September.

"These remarks fuel anger against the rest of the Muslims in the world who number about 1.5 million.

"All terrorism is a crime against humanity and totally un-Islamic."

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See also:

20 Oct 01 | UK
Muslims rally for peace
13 Oct 01 | UK
Protesting for peace
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