More than 80 gather as Deddington holds an anti-war protest

Villagers held placards and crosses as they prayed for peace in an anti-war protest in Deddington on Sunday.

More than 80 people gathered in the Market Place to take part in the peaceful protest against planned Western military action on Iraq.

The day of prayer was organised by parishioners and Deddington vicar Hugh White for anyone who wanted to make a stand against the impending conflict, which is opposed by the majority of the Church of England.

Julian Barbour of South Newington said: "I supported the last Gulf War because Kuwait was invaded; there was good reason. But this one is not justified.

"We are told to support our Army, but how can we when there is no sign that Saddam Hussein is going to attack England? To take military action against Iraq is immoral."

Canon Christopher Hall said: "There are a wide range of people here who want to demonstrate the ill-feeling that the threat of another war in the Gulf has provoked. Some of the people here oppose all war and some only this war, because of the way it has come about.

"The Church is against launching an attack on Iraq because it is unjust. It would be a preventative measure to take action against Saddam Hussein and that has never happened before. To set a precedent like that would be very damaging.

"It is extremely difficult to support America in this matter, especially as it was Donald Rumsfeld who sold weapons to Iraq!"

The Rev White said: "I was pleased with the way things went and I think we showed the people in the village our feelings on the war.

"The best thing about it was that it was an ecumenical event and Pastor Issy Walton of Deddington Weslyan Church was there, as well as a number of Roman Catholics.

"It is not just the Church of England that opposes military action in the Gulf and I would not rule out holding further protests if the situation in the Gulf escalates."

l A coach will be travelling from Banbury to the national anti-war demonstration in London on Saturday February 15. The protest is organised by the Stop the War Coalition, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the Muslim Association of Britain.

To reserve a seat, contact Sue Jaiteh on 01295 701144.