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Emotions run high

PUBLISHED: 11:02 04 February 2010 | UPDATED: 15:40 16 August 2010

SILENT tears rolled down the faces of several people gathered on a cold and grey Friday morning, as a list of names of those killed during the war in Iraq was read out, writes Louise Dunderdale

SILENT tears rolled down the faces of several people gathered on a cold and grey Friday morning, as a list of names of those killed during the war in Iraq was read out, writes Louise Dunderdale from the Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre.

Speaker after speaker read out just some of the names of men, women and children, aunts, brothers and friends of all ages, from babies upwards who were killed.

Hundreds of people turned out for the rally which took place as Tony Blair faced questions from the Iraq inquiry, chaired by Sir John Chilcot, inside the building.

But dozens of people in the crowds, watched by a heavy turnout of Met Police officers, said they did not believe that Blair would be held to account.

John Howsam, 68, a retired carpenter and joiner from Northampton, carried a large placard which said Blair and Campbell must face trial for "war crimes".

Mr Howsam said: "He [Tony Blair] knows exactly what he is going to say.

"He knows how to handle himself. He is an ex-lawyer. He will wriggle out of it.

"He is responsible at the end of the day for lying to the British parliament."

Russell Inglis, 28, a trainee lawyer and graduate from Oxford, carried a giant sized mocked up international arrest warrant made out for Tony Blair on behalf of the Oxford University Stop the War group.

He said: "People are prosecuted for crimes against humanity. We believe the same thing should happen to Tony Blair."

Addressing the crowd, Andrew Murray, national chair of Stop the War Coalition, said: "Tony Blair trampled on British democracy, trampled on the democracy we expect from a democratically elected leader."

George Galloway MP told those gathered that thousands had paid "the blood price" for Tony Blair's links to the American president and the war.

"Mr Blair did not pay it, his children did not pay it" he said, referring to the names of those who died."

louise.dunderdale@archant.co.uk

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