Wednesday, August 4News For London

Hundreds of placards left unused – signifies poor turnout at the ‘Stop the War coalition’

Placards lay on the pavement waiting to be handed over to suppotrs during Saturdays demonstration
Placards lay on the pavement waiting to be handed over to supporters during Saturday’s demonstration. Photo: Jordaania Andima

They say a ‘Picture is worth a thousand words’.

This saying became reality during the recent ‘Stop bombing Syria’ demonstration as thousands expressed their feelings using images displayed on their homemade placards and those provided by the organiser.

The demonstration was organised by the Stop the War Coalition after a week of backlash from politicians and some of the press. This comes after the government voted to support airstrikes to bomb Syria against the Islamic State Terrorist group – ISIS.

The number of people that showed up at this rally was significantly less than those who showed up for the movement’s last largest demonstration on the 15th of February 2003. The protest was against the invasion of Iraq and had an estimate of over 1 million people in attendance according to the BBC.

The Guardian reported that ‘the Stop the War Coalition said before the event that up to 8,000 people were expected to take part’ but only 4,000 people managed to attend the demonstration.

This perhaps gives a clear indication of why there where so many unused placards left lying along the pavements when supporters started marching down Regent Street, past Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square.

Nonetheless, for some protesters who took part in the march on Saturday, the writing on the placards meant more than actually shouting out the words “Stop bombing Syria, no more war” and “They say warfare, we say welfare”.

Homemade placards used by some of the people marching through the streets of London during the recent ‘Stop bombing Syria’ demonstration.
Homemade placards used by some of the people marching through the streets of London during the recent ‘Stop bombing Syria’ demonstration. Photo: Jordaania Andima

Many of those who did not get to chance to voice their opinions on the microphone provided said they used their posters to tell the government how they really feel and after the rally they took them home as a sign to show support.

One such protester is Tu Sana, 41, who showed support for refugees faced with poverty but could not voice his anger verbally. He translated his words through a placard given by the organisers.

He stood in front of the H&M flagship store on Regent Street, with a handful of posters waving at people passing by. “If they do not want to hear what I have to say, I will write it out instead,” he told Westminster world. After the demonstration, he took his placards home to save for another day.

But one wonders what actually happened to the rest of the placards that are not used during a demonstration, especially with the recent climate change negations that are happening in Paris.

When Westminster World tried to contact Stop the War Coalition for a comment on what they actually do with the placards their phones went unanswered.