STW press officer: Carmel Brown 07718155101


Anti-war activists are mobilising against the proposed visit of US Defence Secretary Condoleeza Rice to the North West next week. She is visiting the region as the personal guest of British Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw who will be taking her on a tour of Blackburn and Liverpool next Thursday and Friday (30 and 31 March). It is reported that Ms Rice, A Beatles fan, is delighted to be visiting the home city of the fab four. But it has caused outrage in Europe\’s 2008 Capital Culture where anti-war activists last week protested at a full council meeting and successfully overturned plans for an enthusiastic civic welcoming committee.

Ms Rice is scheduled to attend a gala concert at the Liverpool Philharmonic – home of the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. She is also expected to pay a visit to the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA) – housed in the old art college where John Lennon met Paul McCartney. Merseyside Stop The War Coalition has written to both the Philharmonic and LIPA asking them to reconsider hosting events to entertain war-mongers.

\”They want to make this some wonderful cultural event to show off the City of Culture. But we say it would be a better way to show off the City of Culture by saying no to this visit in remberance of the Iraqi culture which lies in rubble or in the fires still burnig in the flames they lit in the Middle East,\” said Mark Holt, Chair of Merseyside Stop The War Coalition. \” We say remember the greatest antiquities museum in the world that was looted whilst US soldiers looked on. \”Condoleeza Rice and Jack Straw should not be allowed to parade as connoisseurs of culture when they have destroyed so many lives and so much culture. They are not welcome here.\”