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Voices raised in protest

RELIGIOUS leaders, politicians and peace campaigners from Swindon are set to speak at a public meeting to discuss the war on Iraq.

Outspoken Labour MP George Galloway, who has been touring the country to voice his opposition to the war, will deliver a speech at the Pilgrim Centre in Regent Street, Swindon tonight at 7.30pm.

The event is organised by the Swindon Stop the War Coalition and other speakers include Dr Ibrihim Hewitt of the charity Interpal which raises money for Palestinian relief, and the Rev Sidney Hinks from Malmesbury.

Meanwhile more than 100 churches across Swindon have issued an open statement saying that they do not believe a case has yet been made for war against Iraq.

The Swindon Churches Forum say their words are aimed at President Bush, Prime Minister Tony Blair, Swindon's MPs, Saddam Hussein and the world's media.

Their statement says: "We believe that the case for war has yet to be made and express strongly our deep concern at the readiness for war shown in the build up of military forces by the US and UK governments."

The seven-point statement which has the full support of the Rt Rev Michael Doe, the Bishop of Swindon, urges all the town's churches to continue their prayers for peace.

It says: "We deplore not only the human rights atrocities and violence against all sections of society, and neighbouring states, committed by the regime in Iraq, but also the US and UK government actions that are bringing armed conflict closer with severe implications for more suffering by innocent victims."

The Swindon churches say they want governments to recognise global injustice and fragile community relations.

"These factors will inevitably worsen if an armed response is pursued.

"In the gap between rich and poor nations and peoples, human dignity, freedom and stability cannot be secured. This is a major cause of terrorism and support for violent change. An armed response to Iraq will exacerbate rather than mitigate this underlying crisis."

Cast your vote

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If your answer is YES telephone: 0906 210 4461

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©Copyright 2003, Swindon News 12 (Wiltshire, Swindon, UK)

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