Hundreds of activists marched in London on Sunday to protest against British involvement in Syria and Iraq, with many accusing the government of funding terrorist groups.
The activists, many of whom are Iraqi Kurds, accused the British government of supporting the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) by providing training and arms to Syrian rebels, many of whom are affiliated with the terrorist group.
Marching on Trafalgar Square, the group chanted ‘Down with ISIS!’ and ‘Wake up, UK!’ They also criticized the British government’s close ties with Saudi Arabia, who they say are the primary funders of the Islamic State.
“ISIS terrorism has so far claimed the lives of thousands and thousands of people in the most violent and barbaric conditions,” Memed, a Kurdish activist told Ruptly.
“You can petition your MPs, the prime minister of this country, to stop supporting Turkey, to cut its ties with Turkey, who have been supporting ISIS terror for the past two years. Cut ties with Saudi Arabia and Qatar… themselves repressive regimes against their own people.”
London’s Kurdish community has long been active in protesting against the Islamic State, and Iraqi Kurdistan has become one of the most important strategic bases in combating the militant group.
In August, hundreds of Kurds and campaigners marched through the streets of London to protest against Islamic State attacks. The demonstration was organized by the Kurdish Peoples’ Assembly UK. They called for the British government to deliver more aid to minorities being targeted by IS, particularly Shia’s, Sufis and Christians, who the jihadists believe are religious deviants.
While the British government has not announced formal plans to engage in military action against the Islamic State, the UK is to arm Kurdish forces, in what may be a precursor to a larger NATO-led operation in the region.
Earlier this month, the prime minister’s office also confirmed to the Guardian that the Ministry of Defence’s Middle East envoy, General Sir Simon Myall, was sent to Iraq earlier this month to advise the government on a strategy to engage the Islamic State.