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Defence Secretary will face Gaza protest
« on: January 22, 2009, 09:51:37 PM »
Defence Secretary will face Gaza

22 January 2009
By Angela Reed
Chief reporter
DEFENCE Secretary John Hutton will be met by anti-war campaigners
when he visits South Tyneside tomorrow.

Despite the ceasefire in Gaza, a demonstration about the conflict has been
organised by the South Tyneside Stop the War Coalition and the Tyneside
Palestinian Solidarity Campaign.

They are calling on people to join them between 6.30pm and 7.45pm,
outside the main entrance of South Tyneside College, in St George's
Avenue, South Shields, where Mr Hutton is due to attend a Labour Party
function with South Shields MP and Foreign Secretary David Miliband.

Coalition member Alan Newham said: "This is an opportunity for ordinary
people to demonstrate their opposition to the Israeli offensive in Gaza.

"Recent comments by David Miliband referred to upholding our
commitments to human rights and civil liberties, and calling Israel a 'beacon
of democracy'.

"These comments will ring hollow if he and John Hutton fail to condemn
what were the apparent intentions of the Israeli Defence Force."

The Coalition and Campaign believe the offensive was an attempt by the
Israeli government to "subjugate the people of Gaza once and for all".

They are calling on Mr Hutton to ensure that Britain doesn't supply the
Israeli army, after an Israeli-owned British company was linked with
supplying engines to Israeli drone aircraft.

In a joint statement, the campaign groups said: "The British Government
should play its part in ensuring the continued existence of Palestinian
Gaza, with a programme of sanctions against Israel in order to pursue a
just and secure future for all Palestinians."

The protest will be the second one to be held in South Shields, after
members of the Muslim community gathered on the steps of South Shields
Town Hall on Monday, January 12, for a peace rally.