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TWO KURDISH MEN carry placards proclaiming 'NO PEACE WITH SADDAM' and 'NO MORE BETRAYAL OF KURDISH PEOPLE'. In the background is the office building No1 Piccadilly Gardens currently under construction on the former green space.

EWM says: Will there ever be a time when local citizens will stage protests against unnecessary demolition and bad development in Manchester?

NABBAZ SHOKKAT, THE CHIEF ORGANISER of today's demonstration gives a speech to participants in the Kurdish language.

EWM says: It would have been interesting to hear their views in English.

WE ARE LOOKING TOWARDS THE NORTH END of Piccadilly. On the left is the tree planted in the new Piccadilly to commemorate the victims of the poison gas attack in Halabja

EWM says: Despite the shortcomings of the new Piccadilly it is proving effective as a place for public meetings.

ANTI-SADDAM placards have been thrown by Kurdish protesters into a pile next to the Halabja tree. In the background is Piccadilly Plaza and the Sunley office tower. The placard says: 'SADDAM IS A BUTCHER'. The stone in front of the tree is a permanent feature of Piccadilly Gardens and carries the words: 'In memory of the five thousand citizens of Halabja, Kurdistan who were killed in a chemical weapons attack on March 16th 1988'.

EWM says: This could be somewhere in the Middle East, but we are in Piccadilly Gardens Manchester. The Halabja tree provides lasting evidence of the presence of many Kurdish refugees in the Manchester area.

TWO DEMONSTRATIONS, TWO OPPOSING VIEWPOINTS from people with different experiences of life, most of whom have come to live in Manchester from other parts of the UK and the world.

EWM says: Whatever our political persuasion, we should never forget how fortunate we are to live in Manchester, a place where people are free to express their opinions and hold public demonstrations.

Manchester is also a place where communities of different origins, religions, beliefs and philosophies live together peacefully. That's something we should all be proud of.

All photos and articles ©Aidan O'Rourke

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