Conscientious Objectors Memorial Day, 15th May 2016

About 70 peo­ple joined the third annu­al Con­sci­en­tious Objec­tors Day vig­il on 15 May to remem­ber the 16,000 COs of the First World War and all those who have refused com­pul­so­ry mil­i­tary ser­vice around the world in the past and today. Mark­ing the cen­te­nary of con­scrip­tion in the First World War we shone par­tic­u­lar­ly remem­bered COs from Edin­burgh and Scot­land who were impris­oned, forced to do hard labour and those who died.

We also remem­bered local peace activists who have passed away in the past year, includ­ing Fr Daniel Berri­g­an, an Amer­i­can Jesuit priest whose action with the Catonsville Nine in 1968 sparked anti war actions and demon­stra­tions that even­tu­al­ly end­ed the Viet­nam war.

Speak­ers includ­ed Peace and Jus­tice Cen­tre Coor­di­na­tor Bri­an Larkin, Les­ley Orr from the Iona Com­mu­ni­ty, Eric Chester (IWW), Ari­an­na Andrean­geli­ni, who spoke about Sec­ond World War CO Franz Jag­ger­stadter, and Eliz­a­beth Allen and Andrew Far­rar, descen­dants of First World War COs.

Protest in Har­mo­ny joined in the memo­r­i­al singing songs includ­ing Unsung Heroes, Siya Ham­ba and Here we are Again. 

Once more this was a very mov­ing occasion.

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