20 March 2011 – London, UK Rally for Bradley Manning
Over 100 people gathered outside the United States embassy in London on 20 March, 2011, to protest the inhumane treatment of Bradley Manning and show their support. Among those speaking were people from Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, the Welsh town where Manning went to school between the ages of 13 through 17. Manning’s mother still lives in Wales.
The UK Friends of Bradley Manning insist that the UK government make representations for Bradley Manning as he is entitled to citizenship under UK law. In addition to 12 people from Pembrokeshire, London protesters were joined by citizens from as far Scotland who had traveled to the embassy to show their support. Three young women who are currently students at the school Bradley Manning attended spoke to demonstrators about why they support the young soldier accused of leaking “dangerous intelligence.”
Student Tessa Hope said, “Bradley Manning has shown incredible courage and in what he has to endure, he is an inspiration to me.” The three sang a Nina Simone song entitled, “What It Means to Be Free.” After the girls spoke, the demonstration was addressed by Bruce Kent, vice president of the UK Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and former SAS soldier Ben Griffin, who had refused to return to duty in Iraq because he found it to be “an illegal war.” Griffin told protesters that Manning’s treatment “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.”
Additional speakers included Pirate Party UK member Loz Kaye and human rights activist Peter Tatchell. An actor wearing an orange jumpsuit and leg irons stood silently during the demonstration with a sign on his chest reading, “His Name is Bradley Manning.”
The main part of the demonstration ended with a reading of a recent letter by Manning describing his treatment and a minute’s silence.