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News from the Stop the War Conference

Over 350 people attended or visited the fantastic Stop the War Coalition Scotland Conference on Saturday. Palestine and the recent wave of student occupations in support of Gaza were a major theme of the Conference, with student activists attending from all over the country.

Speakers also expressed their alarm at the planned deployment of more US troops in Afghanistan and the continuing US drone attacks on Pakistan, and at the frightening new buzz-phrase "AfPak War" coming into use in US policy and media circles.

Asked whether the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan would lead to chaos, Mohammad Asif, President of the Scottish Afghan Society, drew the Conference's attention to the peace proposal from Gulbudin Hekmatyar, presented in the form of an open letter to Barack Obama and published on the SACC website

Speaking at the final session of the conference Osama Saeed drew attention to the astonishing and unpublicised recent conviction of a man with National Front links for threatening to set off a bomb in Glasgow Central Mosque and behead a Muslim every week until all the mosques in Scotland are closed. The case has bee reported by the Scottish Islamic Foundation

Mike Arnott from Dundee reported on the international co-ordinating conference held at Strasburg University on 14th / 15th February. The Strasburg conference was attended by 300 delegates from across Europe and altogether 500 organisations from 29 countries have signed up to participate in the Strasbourg protests.

He said that the French authorities are refusing to allow a march through the centre of Strasburg. The organising conference called for people all over Europe to put pressure on the French government to reverse this position.

Stop the War is calling for supporters to picket the French Consulate in Edinburgh at 4pm on Thursday 26th February where we will also hand in a letter. The consulate is at 11 Randolph Crescent in the West End.

You might also like to contact the consulate and/or the Embassy in London individually to complain at the French authorities denial of the right to protest and to demand that the French Interior Ministry allows a route for the International Demonstration against the NATO Summit that includes the city centre, not through the industrial estates and suburbs.

Nous demandons la droite de marcher dans Strasbourg centre!

Consul-General Mr Herve Bouche, French Consulate, 11 Randolph Crescent, Edinburgh EH3 7TT, Tel: 0131 225 7954, fax: 0131 225 8975

French Embassy, 58 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7JT.