Steve interviewed in documentary which features Richard Branson about rallying people in Stevenage against invasion of Iraq
- Credit: Archant
A lifelong pacifist will talk about the phenomenal reaction he received in Stevenage when campaigning against the Iraq war ahead of the launch of a documentary about the London protests tomorrow night.
Steve Whiting was instrumental in organising events in Stevenage against the 2003 invasion and arranging for people to travel to London and take part in a protest march by more than a million people.
He took part in a documentary about the period called We Are Many which features interviews with celebrities like Richard Branson as well as ordinary people, which is being screened at Cineworld in Stevenage Leisure Park at 8pm.
“Everyone was concerned about the possibility of war,” he said.
“Many of us felt our voices were not being heard. We got two coaches to take us down to the London on the day – there must have been around 100 of us – and we only realised, when we were off the coach, quite how huge this was going to be. It was just extraordinary.”
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When the possibility of war dawned upon the nation Steve was quick to organise meetings where people could make their views known.
“We took out an advert in the Comet telling people we were going to hold a meeting and they were all welcome to attend.
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“The room was totally packed on the night. I didn’t know what to expect because I didn’t know any of these people, but every person who spoke was in agreement about how wrong going to war would be.
“There was a lot of anger in the room and a clear intention to try and stop the war happening.”
The protests failed and a coalition which included the UK invaded Iraq in March 2003, with dictator Saddam Hussein being deposed later that year, captured and put on trial and finally executed in 2006. A 2011 study found that as many as 500,000 Iraqis had died as a result of the conflict since the invasion.
Despite the protests not being successful, Steve feels that things have changed.
“I believe that the decision not to intervene in Syria was as a direct consequence of that march and public reaction to the Iraq war,” he said.
“The march was completely unprecedented and its effects can still be felt now.”
You can find out more about the film at www.wearemany.com.