Veterans for Peace UK will join local and London anti-war activists in staging a solidarity vigil outside of Colchester Military Prison this Saturday August 6th 3pm-5pm. The vigil is being called in support of the courageous action taken by Michael Lyons in refusing to deploy to Afghanistan and to encourage further nonviolent resistance to the war from within the military.
Navy medic Michael Lyons is presently being detained in Colchester Military Corrective Training Centre since his sentencing in July. At his court martial Lyons testified that information on the nature of the war released by WikiLeaks led to him taking a moral position against the war on Afghanistan.
Ben Griffin of Veterans for Peace UK stated,
“Michael Lyons has taken a courageous stand in refusing to deploy to Afghanistan. He joins a growing number of servicemen who have listened to their conscience and refused deployment to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We are holding this vigil in support of Michael’s action and to encourage other servicemen to do the same.”
Ciaron O’Reilly a peace activist organising the vigil stated,
” We are now ten years into these wars on the people of Afghanistan and Iraq. The pretences and lies that justified the invasions have long been exposed, the major perpetrators have left the stage of public life, but the killing and dying goes on. There is no popular support for sustaining these invasions, but unfortunately little visible opposition presently coming from civil society.
It is obvious that marches, lobbying and pontificating are not enough to stop these wars. What will be significant in bringing these wars to an end is nonviolent resistance, such as Michael Lyon’s refusal to deploy to Afghanistan. Whenever and wherever this nonviolent resistance emerges, we are obligated to be proactive in our solidarity towards those taking the risks and in jeopardy. I have spent two years in various prisons for nonviolent resistance to war. I know from personal experience the significance of the smallest acts of human solidarity in sustaining the resister and the resistance.”