Thousands march in London against Afghanistan war

Demonstrator at Afghanistan: Time to Go rally in London on Saturday 20 November 2010Image source, AFP
Image caption,
The rally was organised by the Stop the War Coalition, CND and British Muslim Initiative

Anti-war demonstrators have taken to the streets of London calling for an end to the Afghanistan conflict.

Thousands of protesters, led by military families, marched from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square.

Organisers of the Afghanistan Time to Go rally say the crowd was 10,000-strong at Trafalgar Square. The police would not give an estimate.

It comes as Nato leaders agree a strategy to transfer leadership to Afghan forces by the end of 2014.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who is at the Nato summit in Lisbon, has said Britain's combat role in Afghanistan will end by 2015.

The death of Guardsman Christopher Davies on Wednesday brought the total of UK servicemen and women killed in Afghanistan since 2001 to 345.

'Sham' strategy

The rally was organised by the Stop the War Coalition, CND and British Muslim Initiative.

In addition to anti-war placards, demonstrators also carried banners against the government's planned spending cuts.

Clara Torres, 62, from Surrrey, said British troops should leave now.

"They shouldn't be there in the first place," said the retired nurse. "Afghanistan is nothing to do with us."

At Trafalgar Square the rally was addressed by a series of speakers, including Guardian commentator Seamus Milne.

"In Lisbon the Nato leaders will try to make it appear that they are bringing an end to this war, a war that is now in its 10th year," he said.

"This talk of an exit strategy is clearly a sham."

John Hilary, the executive director of War on Want, had this message for the government.

"We want the £11bn that is being spent on the war in Afghanistan to go on things we need in this country," he said.

"Bring home the troops and bring justice to the people of Afghanistan."

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said there had been no arrests.

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