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.