Peace activists blockade Russian Embassy in London to protest ‘annihilation’ of Aleppo
Campaigners demand action amid fears of major new offensive
London, 3rd November 2016 — A group of 25 peace activists have blockaded the front gate of the Russian Embassy in London in protest at the bombing of civilians in east Aleppo.
At 1400, 25 activists from two campaign groups The Syria Campaign and Syria Solidarity UK placed a structure made from white mannequin ‘limbs’ next to the front gate, while two others locked themselves to the gate itself.
Others scattered over 800 limbs around the gates, to symbolise the horrific impact of Russia’s use of cluster bombs and other banned weapons in the besieged city.
John Dunford from the Syria Campaign is one of those locked on. He said:
“We’re here because innocent children are being killed in their beds, while doctors are being bombed just for trying to save the lives of others. The Russian government and the Assad regime are committing these war crimes in Aleppo and things could be about to get even worse.
“We will not stand by and let this happen. This is a test of our shared humanity, a line we cannot cross. It shouldn’t be up to activists like me to say this – the UK government should be doing far more to protect the innocent and stand up against this barbarity.”
Police are on the scene but no arrests have yet been made.
The campaigners are calling on the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to increase the pressure on Russia, including by announcing new sanctions against Russian financial interests in the UK.
According to leaked intelligence briefings, Russia could be about to launch a major new assault on the embattled city as soon as this week. Warships and submarines have been sent to the region over the past few days, while leaflets dropped on residents have warned of ‘annihilation’ if they fail to surrender.
Amr Salahi from Syria Solidarity UK is also at the protest. He said:
“We have to stop the bombs. We have to stop the attacks on schools, on hospitals, on aid workers. We have to act now to stop Russia and the regime wilfully killing children, mothers and fathers, the deliberate starving of the old, the deliberate targeting of doctors and nurses.
“The Russian government claims to be fighting terror, but bombing aid trucks is not fighting terror. They are inflicting terror on Syria and on all of us, and we reject their propaganda.”
“The bombing of Aleppo is not just an attack on Syrians. It is an attack on humanitarian law. The Russian government and Assad are shredding international agreements and laws that exist for the protection of all of us. To save Syria is to save ourselves.”
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A more detailed briefing on the action can be found here
Photos and video:
827 people have been killed in besieged Aleppo, 140 of them children, since September 20th according to rescue workers from the Syria Civil Defence, or White Helmets.
Last week the UN aid chief Stephen O’Brien described himself as ‘incandescent with rage’ over the current situation in Syria. He cited a leaflet, dropped on the residents of Aleppo by Syrian regime aircraft, which warned that they faced ‘annihilation’ if they refused to surrender.
The Times newspaper reported on Monday that the Russian government was planning a major new assault on Aleppo, according to leaked intelligence documents. Since then, the Russian government has issued a new ultimatum to residents of Aleppo suggesting that a major assault could begin as soon as this weekend.