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Saturday, 22 September, 2001, 17:07 GMT 18:07 UK
Peace rally opposes US strikes
Rally crowd in George Square, Glasgow
The "Stop the War" rally gathered in George Square, Glasgow
Several hundred people have attended a rally in Glasgow to express their opposition to the use of any possible military strike by the United States.

About 300 people attended the event in Glasgow's George Square, organised by the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (Scottish CND).

The rally carried the message "justice not vengeance" and a minute's silence was also held for the thousands of victims of the terrorist attacks on the US.

About 3,000 people also attended a demonstration in London and several hundred gathered in Manchester.

Last week's attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Washington and on a plane which crashed in Pennsylvania were remembered.

Tommy Sheridan
Tommy Sheridan: "Take strength"
But speakers said the atrocity should not be used as an excuse for acts of retaliation against "innocent victims".

Speakers at the Glasgow rally included Tommy Sheridan, leader of the Scottish Socialist Party, anti-racism campaigner Aamer Anwar, and representatives of the Scottish Green Party, trade unions and Strathclyde firefighters.

It follows a declaration by Scottish CND to "stop the war" which has so far been signed by eight MSPs as well as academics, trade unionists and peace campaigners.

Brian Quail, joint secretary of Scottish CND, said: "The wilful killing of innocent people can never be justified and is an act that merits unequivocal and unreserved condemnation.

"We demand that those responsible for the dreadful deeds in New York and Washington be brought to justice, but we will not uphold the calls for retaliation on more innocent victims, because the killing of innocent people cannot be justified as compensation for the loss of other victims.

Eye for an eye

"It is an elementary and immutable principle that two wrongs don't make a right.

"An eye for an eye makes a blind world. We must have no room in our hearts for vengeance."

Mr Sheridan told the crowd to "take strength" from the force of their numbers and build a coalition of opposition to the "war on terrorism".

He called on people to gather again in George Square if military strikes were launched against Afghanistan, to show their opposition.

He said: "I appeal to everyone to become involved in a broad-based anti-war movement, a broad-based movement for peace and for equality throughout the world."

Anti-racism campaigner Aamer Anwar
Aamer Anwar: Anti-racism campaigner
But Mohamed Asif, an Afghan refugee, urged politicians to think before enforcing any further suffering on the people of his native country.

He told the rally that whoever perpetrated the attacks on the US should be brought to justice.

But he said that this must not be at the expense of innocent people in Afghanistan.

Innocent people

He said that after 23 years of conflict there is nothing left to be bombed or destroyed in Afghanistan.

"People are tired of the Taliban. People are tired of these guys who are hiding in Afghanistan because the people of Afghanistan did not elect Osama bin Laden.

"But we think, and I personally think, that innocent people are going to die in Afghanistan and we will see another New York or Washington in Afghanistan very soon.

"We hope that this will not happen."

Penny MacMillan reports
"The mood was heavy with a feeling that a war will create more problems."
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