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Demo Today at Brit Consulate in Managua


NEWS RELEASE -- May 1, 2006

Nicaragua Committee -- Global Call

Demonstration Held Today at British Consulate in Managua Against British and U.S. Occupation of Iraq

Today, May 1, International Workers' Day, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., a demonstration (including "street theatre") was held at the British Consulate (Taboada & Asociados) in Managua, Nicaragua.

The group, consisting of representatives of the Christian Base Communities, the Solidarity Network, and religious orders, denounced British participation in the invasion and occupation of Iraq as an active partner with the U.S. government and demanded that the British government withdraw its troops from Iraq and put an end to the abuse of Iraqi prisoners.

A "street theatre" was presented outside the consulate, with some people representing British soldiers "beating" others playing the role of Iraqi teenage prisoners. The shocking video of this was seen on international television in February (see below, at end).

Signatures are being gathered on a letter to Prime Minister Tony Blair which will be presented to the British Consul, with the request that he forward it to the Prime Minister.

Fr. Joseph Mulligan, S.J., of the Christian Base Communities of Managua, explained why this demonstration is being held on May 1, International Workers' Day: "This is an appropriate day because British and U.S. imperialism, of which the invasion and occupation of Iraq is a current expression, is essentially harmful to the interests of the working class and of the impoverished of the whole world.
"There is also a clear connection between our demonstration and the struggle of the immigrants in the U.S. who have declared May 1 'a day without Latinos' as a protest against repression. In Iraq as in Latin America and other parts of the world, imperialism seeks to establish a savage kind of 'free market' or 'neo-liberalism' for the benefit of the multinational corporations (mainly of the U.S.), almost eliminating the regulatory role and the social services of governments. This creates an economic and social situation in which working people and the poor must seek work in other countries.
"We totally support the rights of the immigrants who are struggling by means of boycotts and mass marches; and through our opposition to the imperialist aggression in Irak, in Nicaragua, in Venezuela, and in other countries we want to contribute our little grain of sand to the construction and maintenance of just societies in which the majority will have the freedom to stay in their countries, finding work and a decent life there, if they wish, without being obliged to emigrate in order to survive."


May 1, 2006

Prime Minister Tony Blair
London, England

Dear Mr. Blair,

From Nicaragua, which has suffered military occupations by both the British and U.S. empires, we denounce your participation in the criminal invasion and occupation of Iraq.

We further denounce your participation in the campaign of lies and deception used in an attempt to justify the invasion. The "Downing Street Memo,"published on May 1, 2005, is based on a briefing given to you and your top security advisers in July 2002, eight months before the war. Labelled "top secret," the memo summarizes a report from Richard Dearlove, the head of British intelligence, who had just met senior Bush officials in Washington. The memo says: "Military action was now seen as inevitable" and that "Terrorism and WMD [weapons of mass destruction]" would be used to justify the war. But, the memo says, "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." Additional evidence confirms that you knew there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and no ties between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda.

And we denounce the atrocities being committed by British troops, as well as by Americans, against the people of Iraq. We were shocked and outraged by the video released on Feb. 12 of this year by the British tabloid, News of the World, showing the brutal beating of four Iraqi teenagers by eight of your British soldiers. The cowardly beating, which included at least 42 blows shown in the brief video, is believed to have taken place in early 2004 amid a series of street riots in southern Iraq. Today, in front of your consulate in Managua (Taboada & Asociados), we are offering the public a dramatic representation of the abuses committed by your troops.

We demand the immediate withdrawal of British forces as well as U.S. troops from Iraq.

And we demand a thorough investigation of the videotaped incident of early 2004 and of other atrocities committed by British troops.

(incomplete list)
Carlos Mejía Godoy
Jennifer Lacayo
Penn Garvin y Douglas Orbaker
Lillian Hall
José Mulligan, S.J.
Iván García Marenco
Else Mikél Jensen
Arnaldo Zenteno
Maria Elsa Vogl Montealegre
Mark Lester
Yamil Ríos Acuña
Maggie Fisher
Joseph V. Owens sj


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