Protests in UK, Spain Against Syria Airstrikes

Protests in UK, Spain Against Syria AirstrikesProtests in UK, Spain Against Syria Airstrikes

Some 5,000 people protested in London on Saturday against potential British participation in Syria airstrikes, as political momentum has mounted to broaden the fight against Islamic State terrorists.

Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday laid out the case for British jets, already bombing IS targets in Iraq, to join France, the United States and others in targeting IS strongholds in Syria, AFP reported.

A parliamentary vote on bombing Syria is expected as early as next week and many formerly reluctant politicians are thought to have changed their minds after the Paris attacks.

In an echo of that protest, thousands gathered in the British capital carrying placards reading “Don’t bomb Syria”, “Drop Cameron, not bombs”, and “Don’t add fuel to the fire”.

“There was a terrible tragedy in Paris but it’s the job of a responsible government to respond to that in a responsible way, and not just simply say that they’re going to bomb,” Stop the War Coalition’s Lindsey German said.

“We’re saying ... don’t do this, don’t make the same mistake you made with the Iraq war.”

Speaking in Malta on Saturday, Cameron reiterated his view that IS is a threat to Britain and conducting airstrikes in Syria would be the “right thing for Britain to do”.

Some 5,000 people also protested in Madrid against military action, with many wary of Spain becoming a target for militants again after Al-Qaeda-inspired bombers blew up commuter trains in the Spanish capital in 2004, killing 191 people.

Many Spaniards believe the attack was in retaliation for their country’s involvement in the Iraq war.

French leaders, still reeling from the coordinated IS gun and bomb assaults that killed 130 people on November 13, have in recent days called on allies to join France in stepping up military action against the terrorist group.