Glaswegians protest against US-Iran conflict

Credit: Joanne Krus

Joanne Krus
Deputy News Editor

Protestors are demanding that the U.K. has no involvement in any potential U.S. retaliation in Iran. 

Approximately 200 people gathered on the Buchanan Gallery Steps on Monday to protest the United States’s assasination of Iranian senior military general Quassem Suleimani.

The protest was organised by the Stop the War Coalition, an anti-war campaign which formed in 2001 following former President George W. Bush’s announcement of the “war on terror.”

After U.S. airstrikes killed 24 members of an Iranian-backed militia at bases in Iraq and Syria on 29 December, pro-Iranian militia members burned the U.S. Embassy’s reception area and imprisoned American diplomats inside for over 24 hours. 

In retaliation on 3 January a U.S. drone strike hit two cars carrying Mr. Suleimani and several officials with Iranian-backed militias as they were leaving the Baghdad International Airport.

Protesters chanted in the rain against President Donald Trump’s military actions and called for peace in the Middle East. The protesters were also concerned that the U.K. may get involved if there is any further escalation.

Several politicians and anti-war activists made speeches to voice their concerns. Glasgow MSP Pauline McNeill spoke at the protest and expressed her concerns over the lives that will be lost and her anger at the British foreign secretary, Dominic Rabb, for not condemning the U.S.’s actions. 

McNeill said: “As a Scottish politician, I do not want the U.K. to be part of this reckless American policy. There can be no good outcome.

“We stand here saying there will be no war with Iran; that the U.K. should not stand with America on this reckless policy. We will not be part of it, and we will speak out.

“The foreign secretary was an idiot in what he said on [Andrew] Marr – that he would set-out to de-escalate. Sorry, it’s too late. You have already been part of this dangerous, dangerous policy.”

Addressing the crowd, Jonathon Shafi, an anti-war activist, argued that Scotland must not be part of any U.S. war campaign.

Shafi said: “Here in Scotland we have to say that we will have nothing to do with any conflict in Iran. We will have nothing to do with the arms manufacturers who make it possible to bomb people from thousands of miles away. We will have nothing to do with jets and planes stopping at Prestwick Airport, stopping to be refuelled on their way to bomb innocent people.

“We will say loudly and clearly that Scotland opposes Trump, opposes US and UK intervention and stands for peace.”

During the demonstration, one masked man set a “Trump doll” on fire and placed it on the steps. The fire lasted several minutes before the toy had completely burned away. 

The organisers said this was only the first protest and that there will be more to come in the form of national demonstrations. 

Iran fired more than 20 ballistic missiles on Tuesday in response to Suleimani’s death at military bases in Iraq where American troops are based. President Trump later said in a State of the Nation that he would impose more economic sanctions on Iran, moving away from his claim of destroying Iranian cultural sites.


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