EADT readers opposed to Iraq war

By Jonathan Barnes, Patrick Lowman and Cat BartmanA CLEAR majority of East Anglian Daily Times readers remain opposed to Britain going to war against Iraq.

By Jonathan Barnes, Patrick Lowman and Cat Bartman

A CLEAR majority of East Anglian Daily Times readers remain opposed to Britain going to war against Iraq.

The EADT invited the public to take part in a week-long phone poll on whether, as the search for a peaceful solution to the Iraq crisis appeared to be running out, the country should go to war.

It showed 73% of readers were opposed to military action against Iraq, with 27% in favour of armed conflict – when the poll was run six weeks ago, 91% of readers were against going to war, with 9% in favour of conflict with Iraq.

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The result came as peace protesters across the region took the streets at the weekend for a number of vigils and marches against war with Saddam Hussein.

Defiant drumbeats sounded through the centre of Ipswich on Saturday as an estimated 350 demonstrators marched against going to war with Iraq.

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The procession snaked through the town's busy streets at lunchtime, with musicians from the Suffolk School of Samba beating out a message to the Government.

Young and old joined the March For Peace, organised by the Ipswich Stop The War Coalition, touring through the town with whistles blowing, drums beating, banners held high and chants filling the air.

Traffic on St Helen's Street and Crown Street came to a standstill for the second half of the parade – a sombre "funeral march" to "reflect the seriousness of the anti-war message", during which just a lone drumbeat could be heard.

The procession began soon after 11am outside the Wolsey Theatre, drawing people out of High Street shops to watch the spectacle.

Hundreds of leaflets were distributed and just a handful of dissenting voices could be heard among the general public as they went about their business.

The protesters returned to their starting point at the end of the parade to hear speakers condemning the actions of Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.S. President George W. Bush.

Peter Leech, secretary of the Ipswich Stop The War Coalition, said it was important for communities to show their opposition to war in the Gulf.

"We are part of a worldwide movement against this war. One million people marched in London, but it is important we do our bit here in Ipswich as well. Even the tiniest village can play their part. There is a major movement going on that we all can be part of," he added.

About 30 placard-waving protesters took part in a 15-minute peace vigil at the war memorial in Clare at noon yesterday to mark their opposition to military action against Iraq.

Bernard Quinlan, who helped organise the event, said: "Obviously, we are doing this because we are opposed to the war. The Governments of Britain and the U.S. are in too much of a hurry to go to war without any real justification.

"We just do not trust the motives of those intent on pushing us towards war, there must be better ways of resolving the current situation. There is no moral reason for this war, it is all political. We will keep protesting until the situation is resolved."

About 60 people also gathered in Diss on Saturday to take part in a peace procession and vigil in protest against possible war with Iraq.

The procession started at the Mere at about noon and finished at the Market Place, where a short play was performed and a vigil held. People were also given the chance to write message of peace on flags.

Candlelight vigils were also held last night across the region, including in Bury St Edmunds, Framlingham, Sudbury and Dunwich.

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