On the weekend of the undemocratic elections in Iraq that are meant to legalise the occupation of the country, International Socialist Resistance (ISR) and Socialist Students organised a protest in London outside the headquarters of Aegis Defence Services Ltd.
Aegis, a private security company, was given a $293 million contract by the Pentagon to coordinate security operations amongst thousands of private companies in Iraq. Aegis is making a profit while over 100,000 Iraqis have died. Our protest outside 118 Piccadilly was both enthusiastic and attractive to passers by, and we met and spoke to many young people, all of whom were very angry at the situation in Iraq.
When asked what she thought of the elections taking place in Iraq, Rosemary Lew from America, who first got involved in the anti-war movement when Dick Cheney visited her campus in Wyoming, said, "It’s hard to have an election where people can’t vote in it because of fear and the lack of safe polling places, so the whole thing is a farce." Jack Nakama, also from America, replied to this question by saying, "I think it’s just a sham, it’s just something to legitimise why we went in there, and say that we can let the Iraqis control their own destiny but it’s really not. It’s just a top down strategy, power is coming from the top, it is not coming from the grassroots. Democracy comes from the people, not from big corporations or US presidents." And finally Florian Koosbauer said, "I think it’s no real election, it’s far more of a dictatorship." These opinions really show the growing consciousness of young people today and the anger that exists towards the continuing occupation of Iraq. The protest was really lively and I think our ability to chant and rhyme with ‘Aegis’ impressed all, including the policemen.