The message came into VFP Birmingham that an Army Demonstration and Recruiting team would be showing off their wears in Leicester City Centre on Saturday the 7th of May. The equipment on display ranged from machine guns, armoured vehicles, a dummy with a blown off leg and a Gazelle helicopter.
This was the day that Leicester City football club would be lifting the Premiership title, so the military took the opportunity to occupy the central square and take advantage of the huge crowds expected in the city.
It was decided at short notice that we would head for Leicester, show a presence, and demonstrate to the public that there is another unsavoury version of the military rhetoric.
Five VFP Birmingham members headed off to Leicester from as far away as Corby and Stoke on Trent, to set up camp next to the military and join with Forces Watch, to engage the public and challenge the growing militarisation of our towns and cities. We anticipated some hostility from the powers that be, but after lengthy conversations with Police Community Support Officers, Shopping Centre Security Guards and members of the Army Recruiting team. Understanding regarding our message was greeted with jovial bonhomie on one of the cities most notable days. We even had support and interest from some of the soldiers who were present.
We gave out leaflets, answered questions from the public and explained to those interested the true cost of war. A good time was had by all on this hot and humid day. We were all amazed as to how little interest there was from the general public towards the military and its hardware. So overall a total success and an expedition we all intend to repeat should a similar situation present itself again. Peace and happiness to all from VFP Birmingham .