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Protesters gather in Norwich to voice opposition to air strikes in Syria

PUBLISHED: 18:23 14 April 2018 | UPDATED: 12:26 15 April 2018

A protest against the war in Syria was held outside The Forum in Norwich. Picture: Ian Burt

A protest against the war in Syria was held outside The Forum in Norwich. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2018

Scores of people joined forces in Norwich city centre to protest against the UK’s involvement in air strikes against Syria.

A protest against the war in Syria was held outside The Forum in Norwich. Picture: Ian BurtA protest against the war in Syria was held outside The Forum in Norwich. Picture: Ian Burt

A series of missile strikes were launched at 2am UK time today by the US, UK and France in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack in the country. Prime Minister Theresa May insisted that joining the bombing campaign was the “right thing for us to do” in the wake of the “harrowing” assault on Douma.

However the protestors who gathered outside The Forum in Norwich fiercely criticised the decision.

Nick O’Brien, from Norwich Stop The War, said public opinion was massively against intervention and that there was anger that the decision to go ahead with air strikes was taken without parliament being recalled.

He said: “The mood [of the protest] was very resolute and people were very concerned about the situation in Syria, for the people of Syria but also with the possible knock-on effects with Trump and Russia. There’s a real danger that things could escalate.”

A protest against the war in Syria was held outside The Forum in Norwich. Picture: Ian BurtA protest against the war in Syria was held outside The Forum in Norwich. Picture: Ian Burt

Natalie Aldous, a 45-year-old administrator from Sprowston, said when she woke up this morning to the news of the air strikes, she was determined to get as many of her friends as possible to attend the protest.

She said: “As far as I am concerned, what Theresa May is doing is completely illegal and she has not got the mandate of the people.

“I marched in London against the Iraq War but at least Blair went to parliament, he did not just do it off his own back. It just makes me really angry.”

Julie Bremner, a 48-year-old civil servant from Norwich, was at the protest with the Stand Up To Racism group.

A protest against the war in Syria was held outside The Forum in Norwich. Picture: Ian BurtA protest against the war in Syria was held outside The Forum in Norwich. Picture: Ian Burt

She said: “I am in opposition to the UK’s involvement with bombing Syria and like a lot of people I woke up and was really shocked there had been no parliamentary vote. Our democracy and our voice is not heard and I do not think this is the solution for Syria or its people.

“I think this is Russia and America playing their proxy war in Syria...No-one supports Trump here, why are we supporting Trump’s war?”

Seventy-one-year-old Janet Hewett, from Norwich, said: “This is the umpteenth time that I have demonstrated against the bellicosity of our government supporting the Americans and it is even more important at the moment because Trump does not impress by his powers of intellect and I fear for the future of my grandchildren...He [Trump] just is a tub-thumping war monger and I hate the fact that our government have not had a democratic vote [about the air strikes on Syria].”

Mary Littlefield, a 64-year-old retired teacher who lives near Beccles, said military intervention was not the answer and she said more should be done to help Syrian refugees.

A protest against the war in Syria was held outside The Forum in Norwich. Pictured are Glitchers band members (L) Jake Tinsley and James Allen. Picture: Ian BurtA protest against the war in Syria was held outside The Forum in Norwich. Pictured are Glitchers band members (L) Jake Tinsley and James Allen. Picture: Ian Burt

She said: “Military escalation is not the way forward and to actually just do it because Donald Trump thinks it’s a great idea - and not going to parliament, doing it before Monday when parliament comes back in - is criminal. They would probably vote for war anyway but the point is it would be discussed, it would be out in the open air, people could hear the arguments, they could hear what their MPs are saying about it. Also, the fact is that she [Theresa May] has gone to war with the knowledge that over 80pc of the population do not support bombing Syria, and that’s a fact, and I just think to do that with a minority government is just out of order and she should not have done that.”

A protest against the war in Syria was held outside The Forum in Norwich. Pictured is Tim Knight-Hughes. Picture: Ian BurtA protest against the war in Syria was held outside The Forum in Norwich. Pictured is Tim Knight-Hughes. Picture: Ian Burt

A protest against the war in Syria was held outside The Forum in Norwich. Pictured are Glitchers band members (L) Jake Tinsley and James Allen. Picture: Ian BurtA protest against the war in Syria was held outside The Forum in Norwich. Pictured are Glitchers band members (L) Jake Tinsley and James Allen. Picture: Ian Burt

A protest against the war in Syria was held outside The Forum in Norwich. Pictured is Janet Hewett. Picture: Ian BurtA protest against the war in Syria was held outside The Forum in Norwich. Pictured is Janet Hewett. Picture: Ian Burt

A protest against the war in Syria was held outside The Forum in Norwich. Pictured is Mary Littlefield. Picture: Ian BurtA protest against the war in Syria was held outside The Forum in Norwich. Pictured is Mary Littlefield. Picture: Ian Burt

A protest against the war in Syria was held outside The Forum in Norwich. Pictured is Natalie Aldous. Picture: Ian BurtA protest against the war in Syria was held outside The Forum in Norwich. Pictured is Natalie Aldous. Picture: Ian Burt

A protest against the war in Syria was held outside The Forum in Norwich. Pictured is Julie Bremner. Picture: Ian BurtA protest against the war in Syria was held outside The Forum in Norwich. Pictured is Julie Bremner. Picture: Ian Burt

A protest against the war in Syria was held outside The Forum in Norwich. Picture: Ian BurtA protest against the war in Syria was held outside The Forum in Norwich. Picture: Ian Burt

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