Fwd: Hawking to lead anti-war protest on election day
- Stephen Hawking, Britain's most eminent scientist, has become the
latest prominent opponent of the Iraq war by agreeing to take the
lead role in a ceremonial protest to coincide with the United States
Peace protesters will gather in Trafalgar Square at 5pm on Tuesday,
where they will read out the names of 5,000 Iraqi men, women and
children known to have died in the conflict.
The full death toll was put last week as high as 100,000.
Playwrights Harold Pinter and David Hare, actress Juliet Stevenson,
the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, and relatives of British
soldiers killed in action in Iraq have all agreed to take part.
Professor Hawking, the author of the best-selling book A Brief
History of Time, is wheelchair-bound as a sufferer from motor neurone
disease. He recorded a message on Friday that will be broadcast at
the start of the rally.
The oldest protester in Trafalgar Square is likely to be a fellow
scientist, the Nobel Peace Prize winner Sir Joseph Rotblat. In the
1940s, he resigned from his job developing the world's first atomic
bomb on moral grounds.
Sir Joseph, who will be 96 on Thursday, said: "In this nuclear age,
we simply cannot allow others to start military action unless
everything else has ... been tried and has failed."
The rally comes at a time when its organisers from the Stop the War
Coalition have been embroiled in controversy with one of its biggest
backers, the giant public sector union Unison, which has links with
the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions, (IFTU) whose general secretary,
Subhi al-Mashadani, spent more than 10 years in prison under Saddam
By Andy McSmith, Political Editor 31 October 2004