Joe Glenton, the soldier who refused to return to fight in Afghanistan and who spoke out against the war, was released from military prison yesterday.
He was greeted by around 30 supporters and dozens of reporters outside the Military Corrective Training Centre in Colchester. Some of his supporters had waited over an hour and a half in the pouring rain to pay tribute to the brave stand Joe Glenton took.
They cheered and applauded as Joe Glenton walked out of the gates alongside his wife, Clare Glenton, and his mother, Sue Glenton.
This gathering marked the culmination of the fortnightly protests held by Colchester Stop the War to protest at Joe’s imprisonment and to celebrate Joe’s courage in speaking out.
On this occasion they were joined by supporters from London as well as three national officers of the Stop the War Coalition and its national convenor, Lindsey German.
Everyone there felt that this was a very important day for the movement. The welcome demonstration culminated in chants calling for troops out of Afghanistan.
The huge personal sacrifice that Joe made to speak the truth about the war and the sense of injustice at his imprisonment galvanised a Stop the War group into being in Colchester, one of Britain’s largest garrison towns. We are sure that Joe Glenton will remain an inspiration to the Stop the War movement.
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London, WC1R 4RL
Speakers include: Lance Corporal Joe Glenton, just released from prison following his court martial for refusing to fight in Afghanistan, ex-soldier Ross Williams, jailed in 2008 for refusing to fight in Iraq, Caroline Lucas MP and other MPs. More speakers TBA.
The war in Afghanistan is in crisis. The strategy for the US-led occupation is crumbling. Violence is increasing, with deaths of Afghan civilians and Nato troops at higher levels than at any time since 2001. But the ConLib coalition government continues to send troops to kill and die in a war that has no purpose and is being lost, ignoring the two thirds majority of people in Britain who want them brought home now.
Kate Connelly is a writer and historian. She led school student strikes in the British anti-war movement in 2003, co-ordinated the Emily Wilding Davison Memorial Campaign in 2013 and is a leading member of Counterfire. She wrote the acclaimed biography, 'Sylvia Pankhurst: Suffragette, Socialist and Scourge of Empire' and recently edited and introduced 'A Suffragette in America: Reflections on Prisoners, Pickets and Political Change'.
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