On February 6, Leicester Socialist Students joined with other campaigners from the group “Leicester Against War” to hold a protest outside the constituency office of Labour MP Keith Vaz (Leicester East).
Vaz is one of the two Labour MP’s in Leicester to have voted for the bombing of Syria, the other MP being the notorious right-winger Liz Kendall.
Leicester Socialist Students have been demonstrating against war since December, when David Cameron rushed through a vote to start bombing Syria. At the first protest, over 200 people took to the streets in Leicester to voice their anger.
Speakers representing a variety of groups, and others in an individual capacity, spoke passionately against yet another bombing campaign in the Middle East, which has already devastated Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya.
One protestor remarked at the time that “a bombing campaign cannot be the answer because western military intervention has been one of main radicalizing factors. If we want to bring peace to the region we need to stop selling arms to dictators, not drop more bombs.
These words are reminiscent of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who stated that “ISIS didn’t come from nowhere, its weapons don’t come from nowhere. We sell vast amounts of weapons to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, and a number of other places – how many of those end up in the hands of ISIS.”
Since that first protest, Leicester Against War formed, which has met every Friday evening (5.30-6.30pm) since the bombing began. Students from across Leicester have continued to form an integral part of this group.
The recent protest outside Keith Vaz’s office on Belgrave Road was particularly important owing to Vaz’s near continual support for wars since the Gulf War began in 1991.
Vaz’s Track Record on War
Supported Gulf War (1991) http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm199091/cmhansrd/1991-01-21/Debate-10.html
Supported War on Afghanistan (2001) http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200102/cmhansrd/vo011004/debtext/11004-12.htm#11004-12_spnew2
Supported War on Iraq (2003) http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200203/cmhansrd/vo030318/debtext/30318-47.htm
Supported War on Libya (2011) http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm110321/debtext/110321-0004.htm#column_802
Supported War on Iraq (again) (2014) http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/britain-goes-war-iraq-again-4330084
Supported War on Syria (2015)