UK’s John­son urges anti-war protests at Rus­sian em­bassy

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Bri­tish for­eign min­is­ter Boris John­son yes­ter­day called for anti-war cam­paign­ers to protest out­side the Rus­sian em­bassy in London, dur­ing a par­lia­men­tary de­bate on the bomb­ing of Aleppo in Syria. “I’d cer­tainly like to see demon­stra­tions out­side the Rus­sian em­bassy,” John­son told MPs in par­lia­ment. John­son, a former mayor of London known for his many pub­lic gaffes, said the “wells of out­rage are growing ex­hausted” and anti-war groups were not ex­press­ing suf­fi­cient out­rage at the con­flict in Aleppo. “Where is the Stop the War Coali­tion at the mo­ment? Where are they?” he said.

The Stop the War group was co­founded by cur­rent op­po­si­tion Labour Party leader Jeremy Cor­byn to protest against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It brought mil­lions of Bri­tons into the streets to protest against the buildup to the in­va­sion of Iraq in 2003. Dur­ing yes­ter­day’s de­bate in par­lia­ment, sev­eral law­mak­ers ac­cused Rus­sia of com­mit­ting war crimes in Syria. John­son was re­spond­ing to a ques­tion from Labour MP Ann Cl­wyd, who called for protests by mil­lions of peo­ple out­side Rus­sian em­bassies world­wide.

“I would there­fore call once again on ev­ery­one who cares about the plight of Syr­ian civil­ians to picket the Rus­sian em­bassy in London and in cap­i­tals around the world from today,” she said. “Two mil­lion, three mil­lion, four mil­lion peo­ple. It can be done. It has been done in the past.” An­drew Mitchell, a former in­ter­na­tional devel­op­ment min­is­ter, said Bri­tish air­craft could help en­force a nofly zone to pre­vent Rus­sian bomb­ing raids.

“The in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity has an avowed re­spon­si­bil­ity to pro­tect and that pro­tec­tion must be ex­erted,” the MP from Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May’s gov­ern­ing Con­ser­va­tive Party said. “If that means con­fronting Rus­sian air­power de­fen­sively, on be­half of the in­no­cent peo­ple on the ground who we are try­ing to pro­tect, then we should do that.” Mitchell com­pared Rus­sia’s ac­tions to those of Nazi forces dur­ing the Span­ish Civil War in the 1930s.

Rus­sia has been wag­ing a pun­ish­ing ae­rial bomb­ing cam­paign in Syria for more than a year in sup­port of Pres­i­dent Bashar Al-As­sad’s forces, part of a mul­ti­front war that has claimed some 300,000 lives and seen Moscow fur­ther es­tranged from the West.

Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin yes­ter­day can­celled a visit to France in a fu­ri­ous row over Moscow’s role in the Syr­ian con­flict. The an­nounce­ment from the Krem­lin came a day af­ter French Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande said Syr­ian forces had com­mit­ted a “war crime” in the bat­tered city of Aleppo with the sup­port of Rus­sian air strikes. — AFP

BASRA: Shi­ite Mus­lim pil­grims make their way through south­ern city of Basra on Oc­to­ber 11, 2016, as they reen­act the battle of Kar­bala. — AFP

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