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Saturday, April 10, 2004

Voices UK Press Release

PRESS RELEASE Voices in the Wilderness UK [A]
10th April 2004
Contact 0845 458 2564 or 07791 486484

EASTER SUNDAY PROTEST CONDEMNS COALITION KILLINGS IN IRAQ

Sunday 11th April, 12 noon, Downing Street, London: British campaigning
organisation, Voices UK, delegations from which have visited Fallujah on
numerous occasions over the past six years [B], will be co-ordinating an
Easter Sunday protest outside Downing Street tomorrow, Sunday 11th
April, to condemn the current wave of killings and repression by US/UK
forces in Iraq. A banner will be displayed bearing the words 'US/UK:
Stop Killing Iraqis' along with images from Fallujah and photographs of
Iraqi civilians who have been killed by US/UK forces over the last year.
Over 50 similar protests are taking place across the US [C] and
solidarity activists in Iraq are also organizing a protest at a US
checkpoint.

On Friday doctors at Fallujah's main hospital estimated that 280 Iraqis
had been killed - and at least 400 wounded - in fighting in the city
over the past week [D]. The dead apparently include 16 children and up
to eight women, killed when warplanes struck four houses late Tuesday
[E], and as many as forty people were killed when the US dropped two
500-pound bombs on a mosque compound [F]. Fallujah has been under siege
since last Monday and whilst an agreement has now apparently been
brokered to let women, children and the elderly leave the city, all men
of "military age" have been ordered to remain. Meanwhile British troops
have killed at least a dozen Iraqis in the southern city of Amara - in
one instance apparently 'opening fire on people nearby' the British
military headquarters when it came under anti-tank rocket fire [G].

Voices spokesperson Gabriel Carlyle said 'This Easter Sunday, as Tony
Blair suns himself in Bermuda, we'll be at the heart of the British
Government with a simple message for the US and Britain: stop killing
Iraqis. This callous indifference to the deaths of Iraqis must stop -
the 16 children killed last Tuesday could have been the same ones I
chatted with in Fallujah market place two years ago and their lives were
every bit as valuable as the lives of British children.

'On Friday Jack Straw had the audacity to claim that it 'was not the
Americans who cast the first stone ? in Fallujah' - apparently unaware
that the current resistance movement in Fallujah stems from the killing
by US forces of 13 unarmed demonstrators in April 2003 [H]. Not only is
the current policy - in the words of the pro-US Governing Council member
Adnan Pachachi - 'unacceptable and illegal' but it is also making
matters much, much worse. The repression and killings must stop.'

PHOTO OPPORTUNITY: 12 noon, opposite Downing Street
CONTACT: 0845 458 2564 or 07791 486484

THE FOLLOWING INDIVIDUALS ARE AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW :
- Milan Rai: author of War Plan Iraq and Regime Unchanged, who
travelled to Fallujah four times during 1998 - 2003
- Ewa Jasiewicz: recently returned from an eight month stay in Iraq,
during which time she worked with Occupation Watch
and Voices US and spent time
in both Sadr City and Amara)
- Haifa Zangana, UK-based Iraqi-born novelist and artist, former
political prisoner under the Ba'ath regime.
- Salih Ibrahim, Iraqi pathologist with relatives in Baghdad and Basra
who has spent the last 20 years here in the UK
- Gareth Evans and Gabriel Carlyle (Voices UK members who visited
Fallujah in May 2002)

NOTES
[A] Voices in the Wilderness UK has been campaigning on Iraq for the
last six years. For more info. see www.voicesuk.org.
[B] In 1991 the RAF dropped a bomb on Fallujah marketplace killing an
estimated 200 civilians. Voices UK visited Fallujah market place - and
general hospital - on many occasions during its 11 sanctions-breaking
delegations to Iraq between 1998 and 2002.
[C] http://www.internationalanswer.org/campaigns/a10/a10events.html
[D] http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/story.jsp?story=509890
[E] http://www.fox23.com/news/world/story.aspx?content_id=6143C15E-2396-42AB-
A5B8-B486F44DF7A3

[F] http://theage.com.au/articles/2004/04/08/1081326808226.html?from=storyrhs
[G] http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=1514&e=61&u=/afp/20040406/wl_mideast_afp/iraq_unrest_amara_toll_040406154012
[H] http://www.j-n-v.org/AW_briefings/JNV_briefing047.htm
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