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Naming the Dead event report

Brian B | 03.04.2006 23:16 | Anti-militarism

Report from the Naming the Dead event. An act of deliberate civil disobedience against the occupation of Iraq.

On 2 April 2006 an event took place on the second anniversary of an attack on Fallujah, Iraq which started on 2 April 2004. The event started at 12:00pm with people starting to gather in the middle of Parliament Square. A plan had obviously already been made by those involved to start reading out the names of some of those who have been killed in the war in Iraq. The participants at the event had signs hanging around their necks with a series of pictures of people who have been killed in the war also marked with the slogan 'Who Dies?'. Another set of signs was used, marked 'Who lies?' with photos of those who had lied about Iraq - one particular sign was a photo of Condoleeza Rice who was recently forced to face protests during her visit to Liverpool (see reports A third set of signs had the slogan 'Who profits?', and had some of the names of companies who had profited from the war - such as Control Risks, and BAE Systems. A large banner was held up with the message "Who Lies, Who Dies, Who Profit$". Five large puppets were also present - intended to depict the victims of the war.

The event continued with names being read out by three people at at time in the middle of a circle of participants. The reading of names was (understandably) clearly emotional for some of the participants. The reading of names was interspersed with various other readings. One of those was a report written by Jo Wilding while she was in Fallujah during the April 2004 attack. The reports of Jo Wilding from that time can be seen in an archive here Especially of interest are 'April 11th
Falluja' and 'April 17th Falluja (2)'.

During the time of the event, another event was also taking place by a large number of Catholics, marching down from Trafalgar Square around Parliament Square to remember the death of the previous Pope. Brian Haw used the opportunity to shout out his message preaching peace to the crowds marching past. This helped to the draw the attention of those people to the naming of the dead event in the middle of Parliament Square.

The reading of the names of the dead continued until nearly 4pm. After the names had all been read out and the other activities had finished, all of the participants (including Brian Haw) formed one single chain, all holding hands covering the entire area of the grass in Parliament Square. This, the numbers of participants present (250-300) and also the fact that so many participants went, despite being fully aware of the risk of arrest posed by the new SOCPA laws showed exactly how strong the feelings are on the issue of the war. The fact that the Police did not attempt to prevent this event from taking place was unusual given the previous arrests under SOCPA laws. Perhaps it means that even the Police know that demonstrators are not a threat - not real criminals and that they know themselves that they have better things to spend their time on. Or perhaps it shows the power of numbers - the solidarity of a large number of people together. It is also likely that the authorities were desperate to keep the event out of the news so that their own reports on the Serious Organised Crime Agency and the two lovers - Straw and Rice visiting Iraq would be the only ones to appear. The mainstream news sources, including the BBC will have dutifully obliged of course!

After this powerful and moving event had finished some of the participants decided to go with the banner and a coffin to march up Whitehall. When I walked past, those people were quite clearly demonstrating opposite Downing Street with the signs and the banner, but no police in sight apart from the usual few behind the barriers across Downing Street. I do not know what happened after that.

Brian B


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  1. After that — Matthew C