On Friday 30th August 2013, anti-war group Nottingham Stop The War assembled in Market Square to protest against potential military intervention in Syria.
The debate on the situation in Syria has recently come to a head as David Cameron recalled parliament to vote on the issue of military involvement in the divided country.
However, a general feeling of reluctance across the UK and in the House of Commons looks to have brought the dilemma of armed intervention, on behalf of the UK at least, to a close, with Cameron stating on Tuesday that he will not recall parliament again after they voted against it, but will continue to provide humanitarian aid.
Protests during the pivotal weeks in the lead up to voting occurred with increasing frequency. A spokesperson for Nottingham Stop The War emphasised the importance of such gatherings in the lead up to decisions over Syria.
“With 80-90% of the population being opposed to military attacks, there was a need to vocalise our discontent. Our only outlet is public protest, and so a demonstration was called for.” Despite the very short notice, the group still managed to attract around 70 people.
One of the key debates surrounding Syria is whether our moral obligation to intervene should surpass the people of Syria’s right to decide the fate of their country’s politics without foreign influence, and if so, whether military strikes are a necessary course of action.
The spokesperson for Nottingham Stop The War asserted that military strikes are not the appropriate method. “The decision to attack is a significant one – and our experience of Iraq and Afghanistan has shown us that it is not always the right one.”
Student involvement in this particular protest appears to have been minimal, as the majority of the student population were home for the summer, however the NSTW spokesperson did lay emphasis on the importance of student participation in current affairs and demonstrations.
“Historically students are the back-bone of the anti war movement. Just look back to 2003 – students organised walkouts and protests against Iraq. We have had some support from students regarding Syria though, despite most being at home.”
Whilst some may consider the issue to now be closed following the Prime Minister’s decision to accept the opinion of Parliament, the debate still rages on as President Obama is expected to declare strikes in the very near future.
Nottingham Stop The War has stated that on the day the President makes this declaration, another protest will be held to highlight the movement’s objection to US military intervention in Syria.