the Disillusioned kid
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Sunday, May 30, 2004

Yesterday I went to a picket organised by Nottingham Stop the War Coalition outside Chetwynd Barracks, to protest against troop deployments to Iraq and the ongoing occupation. Chetwynd is apparently a major part of the British military machine and any reservists going to the Gulf have to pass through it for injections and the like. Nottm StWC have organised a number of demos there before including a march just before the invasion last year.

The picket was well attended given that the barracks is quite hard to get to, with something like 20 people at the peak. Black ribbons were attached to the fences in memory of those Iraqis killed in the conflict and there was much waving of placards. We got a fair amount of support from those driving by (and one of policemen interestingly enough), but also a few witty remarks along the lines of, "Fuck off back to the Soviet Union and get a job!"

I was greatly amused by some of the soldiers wandering around in desert camouflage and feathers in their berets. Very effective in English suburbia, they just disappeared into the background. The somewhat over-the-top police presence was also entertaining. One of them expressed some support, comparing the conflict in Iraq to Vietnam, although he did confuse Geoff Hoon (Defence Secretary and MP of a nearby constituency) with the leader of the opposition, Michael Howard.

There appeared to be a wedding of some kind going on in the base. Besuited guests wandered around inside the fence and a large stretched limo drove passed us at one point. Several of us drew comparisons between this and the recent wedding party massacre in Iraq. Presumably there were a fair few "military age males" in attendance, though the Americans were kind enough not to shoot the place up.

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