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Cambridge residents take to roof of Guildhall to protest Fallujah attack

Mike | 08.11.2004 12:37 | Anti-militarism | Cambridge | London

Cambridge residents have climbed fifty feet up on the roof of the
Guildhall, in Market Square, Cambridge, and are currently hanging a giant
banner reading 'Fallujah: Stop the Massacre', as part of a larger protest currently taking place in Cambridge's Market Square.

PRESS RELEASE 08/11/04, 12:20
For information, interviews and photographs, contact .

Cambridge residents have climbed fifty feet up on the roof of the
Guildhall, in Market Square, Cambridge, and are currently hanging a giant
banner reading 'Fallujah: Stop the Massacre'. Those participating in the
action, part of a larger protest currently taking place in Cambridge's
Market Square, are ordinary Cambridge residents, members of Cambridge
Action Network, who are angry and appalled at the massacre that seems sure
to take place.

The assault on Fallujah looks likely to be the largest slaughter of the
entire war; one US official has said it is going to be `very bloody and
nasty'. British forces will be fully complicit: Black Watch troops are
currently being deployed to form a cordon around the Fallujah, blocking
bridges and other supply lines to the city (BBC News Online, 7 Nov)

Cambridge resident Richard Rippin (28), protesting against the Fallujah
assault, said:

"Unless we are happy to allow our government to commit a war crime with our
tacit consent, protesting against this is something every reasonable person
should be doing. It looks likely to be far bloodier than the attack on the
city in April - which a study this week revealed killed tens, and perhaps
hundreds, of thousands of people. Before invading Iraq, Tony Blair insisted
that `we must make every single provision that we can, that in the event of
conflict we take care of the population', and said he would not participate
`if I thought we were going to unleash something in which hundreds of
thousands of people were going to die'. We now know that perhaps a hundred
thousand people have already died as a result of invading Iraq - Blair's
agreement to attack Fallujah shows how hollow his humanitarian concern has

Another Cambridge resident , Nick Gill (27), said:

"We know what sort of tactics the US and UK forces will be using. Fallujah
has already been deprived of water and electricity for weeks. Last April
they targeted ambulances and hospitals, and killed so many Iraqis that the
Fallujah Sports Club was turned into a makeshift civilian cemetery. One US
marine corporal told his local newspaper that `sometimes a guy will go down
and I'll let him scream a bit to destroy the morale of his buddies. Then
I'll use a second shot.'" (Daily Oakland Press, 17 April 2004)

Notes for editors:

1) Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations, wrote to Blair and
Bush on Friday asking them not to attack Fallujah: "fighting is likely to
take place mostly in densely populated urban areas, with an obvious risk of
civilian casualties". David Blunkett yesterday dismissed his appeal as
"entirely wrong", despite the UK government's claim that our actions in
Iraq carry a UN mandate.

2) Some measure of the likely bloodshed can be made by comparing it to the
April assault on Fallujah. A study published this week in the leading
international public health journal The Lancet found that as many as
198,000 excess deaths may have been caused since 2003 in Fallujah alone,
with over half being direct deaths from fighting, the majority of those
caused by US airstrikes.

3) Substantial evidence exists that US marines targeted civilians and acted
in contravention of the Geneva Convention in the April Fallujah assault. A
European humanitarian agency with staff in Fallujah told BBC News that US
snipers were shooting unarmed civilians, and even ambulances. One US Marine
Major told Time magazine that it was "hard to differentiate between people
who are insurgents or civilians. You just have to go with your gut
feeling." A UK army major told the Daily Telegraph that US forces routinely
shelled dense civilian areas in preparation for military mortar strikes.

4) Civilian medical facilities have been routinely targeted. Yesterday, US
air strikes destroyed the Nazzal Emergency Hospital in the centre of
Fallujah. In April, the Iraq emergency co-ordinator for international NGO
Medicins sans Frontieres, stationed in Fallujah, claimed that US marines
closed the main hospital, and even "put a sniper on top of the hospital's
water tower" in violation of the Geneva Convention (Guardian, 24 April).

5) For more information, see

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