Veterans for Peace (VFP) gathered today in Trafalgar square and then marched with their supporters to the Cenotaph under a banner saying ‘NEVER AGAIN’. Present were organiser Ben Griffin a former special forces soldier who left the army in disgust over its actions in Iraq and Joe Glenton who was jailed for refusing to be deployed to Afghanistan.
The organisation, which was set up by ex servicemen to raise awareness about war towards its abolition as a foreign policy, had not contacted the authorities about today’s action. Police stationed around the Whitehall Cenotaph, for what is one of the most rigidly stage managed days of the year, were initially baffled by the veterans action but allowed them to go ahead after some negotiation.
Upon reaching the monument a wreath of predominantly white poppies (symbolising peace) was laid and a veteran of D-Day sang the anti war song 1916. Following this another veteran of the more recent Afghan conflict recited the famous poem ‘Suicide in the trenches‘ by Siegfriend Sassoon. The ceremony ended traditionally with the playing of The Last Post.
Though smaller than its counterpart in the USA the UK veterans movement is increasing in popularity with ex service personnel following the disastrous deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001.