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Report on vigil for Brad Manning

A demonstration was held outside the US Embassy in London yesterday in solidarity with alleged Wikileaks whistle-blower Bradley Manning as part of a day of action around the world, including in the US and other parts of Europe and the UK. Around 80 people attended.

Bradley Manning is a dual US-UK national. His mother is Welsh and he attended secondary school in Pembrokeshire. The British government is therefore obliged to make representations for him. Plaid Cymru has shown its support for Manning and Labour MP Ann Clywd has compared his detention to that of Guantanamo Bay prisoners. Young people from Pembrokeshire joined the demonstration and asked why he was facing such abuse when no evidence had been presented to back up the charges. One young woman stated that when it becomes 'illegal to [act to] stop the killing of innocent people in Iraq, we need to question the laws we have'.

The demonstration was also addressed by Bruce Kent (vice-president, CND) and former SAS soldier Ben Griffin. Griffin, who had refused to return to the illegal war in Iraq, said that while people had been optimistic when Obama became president, we are now seeing a more secret war - Guantanamo Bay is still open, extraordinary rendition is still happening, extrajudicial killings and drone attacks in Pakistan are increasing. He stated that the treatment of Bradley Manning was a direct result of the normalisation of the behaviour of the US around the world, such as in Afghanistan and the Middle East, over the past ten years. He praised Manning as a 'brave young man'.

Human rights activist Peter Tatchell said that the issue was essentially that we have a right to know what the government is doing in our name. He also demanded that the government must act for Manning who is 'not a law breaker but a law enforcer', citing the law breakers as being the governments who have acted illegally 'in our name'.

The main part of the demonstration ended with a reading of a recent letter by Manning describing his treatment and a minute's silence. Full report and pics on indymedia.

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