An international crowd of 20,000 people packed out London's Trafalgar Square on Saturday (27 November) in the first Northern Ireland demonstration allowed there for four years.
SV: Joan Baez signing to crowd.
SV: Demonstrators holding white flowers applauding PAN TO child in pushchair.
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Background: An international crowd of 20,000 people packed out London's Trafalgar Square on Saturday (27 November) in the first Northern Ireland demonstration allowed there for four years.
The demonstrators marched three miles (five kilometres) through Hyde Park and past the Houses of Parliament before they reached Trafalgar Square. The message of the demonstration was simply peace. It was arranged by Northern Ireland's peace movement and is the first one in the British capital. Since the movement's rallies started in Belfast 15 weeks ago there has been growing support for its members.
Saturday's demonstration had a strong international flavour. Chartered aircraft brought supporters from the United States, Canada, India, Norway, Denmark, France, West Germany and Spain. Special trains also brought people from all over Britain and Ireland.
Even passers-by were drawn into the crowd and persuaded to join in the communal signing for peace. Brilliant autumn sunshine helped swell the crowds.
One of the organisers, Mrs. Betty Williams, led some of the community singing. She and other leaders have emphasised that the movement does not represent any political side or religion. Having the Anglican Archbishop of Caterbury Dr. Donald Coggan, and Head of Britain's Catholic Church, Cardinal Basil Hume, together on one platform helped promote this idea. There was still some opposition in the crowd from demonstrators who regard the movement as propaganda. Police kept a close watch on demonstrators calling for all British troops to leave Northern Ireland immediately. Fourteen people were arrested for minor offences.
United States pacifist folk singer Joan Baez, sang a specially composed anthem for peace.
The crowd was full of optimism that after years of bloodshed in the British-ruled province, the desire for peace was finally making itself felt.