James Connell

Anti-war protesters held a vigil to mark the deaths of more than 400 troops killed in Afghanistan and made a fresh call for the withdrawal of British forces.

Members of Worcester Stop the War gathered by the war memorial at Worcester Cathedral on Saturday at 5pm, holding a banner containing the roll call of troops killed since the war began in 2001.

A wreath was also laid during the vigil, which came shortly after with the loss of six more servicemen in a Taliban explosion while they were on a security patrol, taking the total to 404.

Those to die from Worcestershire and Herefordshire include: Sergeant Paul McAleese, from Hereford; Private Jason Williams, 23, of Sunnyside Road, Barbourne, Worcester; Rifleman William Aldridge, 18, of Bredenbury, near Bromyard; Lance Corporal Richard Brandon, aged 24, of Offmore Farm, Kidderminster; and Private Robert Laws, 18, of Bromsgrove.

Louis Stephen, a member of Worcester Stop the War, said: “A lot of these people are very young. We have got to mark these milestones. We are also paying our respects.”

Neil Laurenson, secretary of the group, said: “Is it going to rise to 500 or 600 dead? When is the Government going to realise that the troops have to come home now? What have we achieved in Afghanistan in 11 years?

“People in general are saying to themselves, ‘Enough is enough, bring the troops home’.”

Source: Worcester News

12 Mar 2012

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