Belfast Telegraph

White poppy peace event slammed as 'regressive'

By Leona O'Neill

Anti-war activists are planning to stage an 'Alternative Remembrance Event' in Londonderry city centre tomorrow to protest against "wars being waged in our name and to reflect on the inconceivable hurt delivered to the victims".

Activists will gather at the Guildhall at 10.30am to recite anti-war poetry and listen to readings before observing a minute's silence as the clock strikes 11.

Organiser Davy McAuley says the event will "remember all those innocent victims who have needlessly died".

"We wish to openly condemn the wars being waged in our name and to reflect on the inconceivable hurt delivered to the victims," he said.

"The event is the culmination of a campaign to promote the 'Peace' poppy as an alternative to the traditional red poppy.

"Shops throughout the city have been selling the white poppy and all proceeds are being donated to medical aid for refugees in Calais."

Mr McAuley stressed that the event was inclusive and is being staged tomorrow to prevent it clashing with the traditional Remembrance event on Sunday.

But East Londonderry DUP MP Gregory Campbell said the organisers "wanted to stigmatise the traditional poppy, which is deeply unfortunate and regressive".

"The organisers of this event are able to arrange it because of the people who paid the supreme sacrifice," he said.

"If those people hadn't laid down their lives for freedom there wouldn't be the opportunity for a white poppy day.

"The red poppy is to help those who have survived war, help them as they try to come to terms with their injuries, and help the relatives of those who perished in previous wars fighting for freedom."

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