UK gays join anti-war protest

No foreign occupation! No Islamic State! For a secular, democratic Iraq . Against clerical tyranny

March 23, 2005

London anti-war demo, 19 March 2005. Photo - Brett Lock � 2005 OutRage! News Service
LONDON — Gay activist group OutRage! joined the 100,000-strong London march against the US-UK occupation of Iraq, today, Saturday 19 March 2005.

OutRage! members carried placards with the slogans: 'Solidarity with Iraqi women and gays' and 'Freedom for Iraq! No foreign occupation! No Shar'ia law!'

OutRage! backs the call for 'Britain and the US to set a timetable for the withdrawal of troops,' but it opposes calls for 'Troops Out Now'; warning that 'a hasty withdrawal could pave the way for the seizure of power by Saddam loyalists or Islamic fundamentalists..

'If the Saddamites or Islamists won power, it would be disastrous for democracy and human rights in Iraq,' said OutRage! spokesperson and demo participant, Peter Tatchell.

'Women and gay people would suffer terrible persecution.

'Most Iraqis don.t want foreign occupation, the return of the Baathists, or the clerical tyranny of Islamist rule.

'The biggest danger to Iraqi freedom right now is the imposition of a theocratic state, along the lines of neighbouring Iran, where an estimated 4,000 lesbians and gays have been executed since the Ayatollahs seized power in 1979.

'The recent arrest of 110 gay men in nearby Saudi Arabia is evidence of the threat posed by Islamic fundamentalist regimes.

'The Islamist parties in Iraq are pressing for the introduction of an Islamic constitution and Shar'ia law, which would result in the execution of gay people and women who have sex outside marriage, he added.

'Already, lesbians and gay men live in fear of execution by Islamist militants,' said OutRage! campaign coordinator Brett Lock, who also joined Saturday's march.

'Women who refuse to be veiled have been murdered. So-called honour killings of women are encouraged by the Islamists. Feminist campaigners have been threatened with death. A hugely popular woman singer and dancer, Hinadi, was recently assassinated by the Islamists in Basra.

'We support the call by progressive Iraqis for the separation of religion from the State; and for a democratic, secular constitution that guarantees equality for women and gay people.

'OutRage! salutes the courage of Iraqis who are battling against clerical misogyny and homophobia. Their campaign for a liberal, humanitarian Iraq is heroic and inspirational,' said Mr Lock. – OutRage!

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