Mum’s disgust at anti-war protesters heckling troops

IPSWICH: The mother of an Ipswich soldier who was killed in Afghanistan today voiced her disgust at Muslim anti-war protesters who heckled troops from her son’s regiment at a home-coming parade.

Soldiers from the 1st Battalion Royal Anglian regiment, known as The Vikings, were goaded and branded as “murderers” as they marched through Barking in East London yesterday.

Lorraine McClure, the mother of Ipswich soldier Aaron McClure, a member of the regiment who was killed in a friendly fire attack in 2007, attended the parade.

She said: “We saw what was going on and thought it was absolutely disgusting.

“What was written on the protesters’ placards was vile. They shouldn’t have been allowed to attend the event in the first place.

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“However, their chants were drowned out after a while. Their actions didn’t spoil what was a lovely occasion – it’s always nice to see The Vikings.

“We were able to enjoy the rest of the parade and pay our respects properly.”

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Thousands of well-wishers lined the route, waving union flags and cheering as the troops began to march.

But as the soldiers passed, members of a group called ‘Muslims Against The Crusades’ (MAC) jeered and shouted “murderers, murderers, murderers” and “British troops go to hell”.

A large mob on the opposite side of the street who retaliated with jeers of “Traitors”.

Trouble escalated when the mob broke through barricades, charged across the road and traded punches with the MAC protesters.

Police quickly took action to separate the two groups. One man was wrestled to the ground, handcuffed and led away while the police made a ring surrounding the Muslim group.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said that two people had been arrested for public order offences.

Undaunted by the abuse, the soldiers proudly marched through the town centre with fixed bayonets during an hour long procession accompanied by the Minden Band, a Colour Party and two guards of 70 officers and non-commisioned officers.

The MAC group had earlier passed out leaflets featuring British soldiers along with a bloody puddle in the shape of the skull calling the troops “death squads” and had earlier put posters up on the town’s war memorial.

The leaflets called on Muslims to “rise up and condemn this sickening parade”.

n What do you think of the protests? Write to: Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.

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