1st December #DontBombSyria rally

Arriving in Parliament Square just after 6pm this evening, the first banners I saw were those of Peace Strike, at the gates of Westminster.

01 151201 syria rally - © @indyrikki

Across the rush-hour filled road, the Stop the War Coalition had set up a small stage, and a crowd of up to two thousand had already arrived.

02 151201 syria rally - © @indyrikki

03 151201 syria rally - © @indyrikki

Among the speakers were Caroline Lucas and George Galloway.

04 151201 syria rally - © @indyrikki

As more protesters arrived, they spilled out onto the road, but police kept a single lane open to traffic heading west.

05 151201 syria rally - © @indyrikki

Just after 7pm, a short march was announced, and set off towards St James.

06 151201 syria rally - © @indyrikki

The first stop was the nearby Conservative Party HQ where Andrew Murray delivered a letter to the Conservative Chairman.

07 151201 syria rally - © @indyrikki

The march continued loudly and briskly.

08 151201 syria rally - © @indyrikki

A second letter was delivered at the Labour HQ.

09 151201 syria rally - © @indyrikki

As the marchers headed back along Victoria Street towards Parliament Square, I could see there were still marchers way behind at St. James’ station. Clearly numbers had built up massively, and I’d estimate there were more than 5000 involved.

10 151201 syria rally - © @indyrikki

Back in the square, people started to leave, but a group of around a thousand continued chanting, and some people climbed statues and trees in the square while police numbers built up to block any attempt to block the roads, although later there was a brief sit-in, some skirmishes as police intervened, and one man was arrested.

11 151201 syria rally - © @indyrikki

12 151201 syria rally - © @indyrikki

Among the crowd was a tearful Syrian man who was showing people pictures of his family home bombed to ruin – the real face of war.

With the parliamentary debate taking place tomorrow and a vote by 10pm, the Stop the War Coalition has called a further protest including a die-in from 6pm tomorrow evening. I am sure other groups will join this call, and Peace Strike will be continuing their vigil during the day.