Thursday, November 11, 2010
SHAMEFUL protesters disgraced the memory of Britain's war dead today by burning a model of a POPPY — as millions more held a dignified two-minute silence.
The nation paid its respects to the fallen at 11am on Armistice Day, including Prime Minister David Cameron who laid a wreath in South Korea.
But remembrance events in London were marred by the gruesome spectacle of members of self-styled Muslims Against Crusades burning the symbol of the country's debt to its brave service men and women killed in action.
The sick protesters chanted "British soldiers burn in hell" and held banners saying "Islam will dominate" and "Our dead are in paradise, your dead are in hell".
Amid outrageous scenes in Exhibition Road in West London's Kensington around 30 people gathered to disrupt services, while 50 counter demonstrators from the English Defence League assembled nearby.
One officer was taken to hospital with a head injury as the groups clashed.
Muslims Against Crusades member Asad Ullah said: "We want the Government to pull the troops out from these countries and to stop interfering in our affairs."
Muslims Against Crusades is said to be a splinter group of Islam4UK, founded by Anjem Choudary.
As the clock struck 11am on the eleventh day of the eleventh month the nation paused to remember the moment peace returned to Europe at the end of the First World War.
The deal between Germany and the Allies in 1918 brought to an end four years of bloody fighting.
Defence Secretary Liam Fox and the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams joined war heroes, service personnel, veterans, military associations and school children for a service at the Cenotaph in London's Whitehall.
The road was closed and crowds lined the street for the wreath laying amid applause as Victoria and George Cross holders took their places around the monument.
Among those attending was Lance Corporal Matt Croucher, of the Royal Marines Reserve, who was awarded the George Cross for bravery.
He threw himself on a bomb to smother the explosion while serving in Afghanistan in February 2008.
The 26-year-old, from Birmingham, survived the blast unhurt.
After today's annual service, organised by the Western Front Association, he said: "Even without the medals it's great there is so much support.
"People in the military don't really ask for much but just to have the support of the crowds here, it means a lot more than anything else.
"As long as that public support is there, people will continue to serve their country."
He said although the focus of remembrance tended to be on the First and Second World Wars, it was important to think about troops currently on operations.
L/Cpl Croucher was joined for the ceremony by other members of the Victoria Cross and George Cross Association including 92-year-old Gurkha Lachhiman Gurung and Private Johnson Beharry.
A bugler from the Scots Guards sounded the Last Post to mark the start of the silence, as Big Ben continued to chime.
Children then laid wreaths, along with representatives of the Western Front Association and other associations and military personnel.
Wearing a beret and the medals of relatives who lost their lives in war, seven-year-old Jonny Osborne, from New Southgate, North London, placed a cross with poppies at the monument which read: "Thank you, not forgetting."
Jonny was accompanied by his grandfather, Terry Burton, 67, who is president of the Association for Veterans of Foreign Wars and returns from his home in Georgia, US, for the event every year.
He said: "There are so many countries that are still under oppression.
"It's important people understand what they have got and not take their freedom for granted."
Posted by Cole at 6:59 AM