200 demonstrate in Shrewsbury against Syria conflict - with video and pictures
Around 200 demonstrators took park in a peaceful march in Shrewsbury against the conflict in Syria.
Refugee families from the war-torn state waving flags led the silent march from Pride Hill to the Quarry in Shrewsbury on Saturday afternoon in a move to condemn the violence against civilians.
The march also aimed to raise awareness that the UN-backed ceasefire needs to be enforced in Ghouta where some of the families who are now living in Shrewsbury, Much Wenlock, Oswestry, Wem and Newtown, still have relatives trapped.
Participants armed with banners, flags, placards and candles joined in the walk which was followed by a rally and speeches in the Quarry.
Among the marchers was Aylub, 33, who fled Dara, Syria in 2012 with his wife and four children.
"I am here because of the war that is going on in Syria," he said.
"I want our voices to be heard by those who are in charge because they need to put an end to all the crimes and the fighting that is going on. I now live in Shrewsbury with my family and it's going well, but I can't pretend that that I'm happy because of what is going on with the massacre, bombing and killling going on there.
"There are bodies on the street. I'm here, but the soldiers are there as well as my family that are left behind. We try to keep in contact with them, but because the situation is unstable it's very difficult. The phone lines are often down."
Anna Morris, 42, of Shrewsbury Call for Peace, that has been behind peace vigils held in the area helped the families to organise the event.
"This march was requested by the local Syrian families. they wanted a more visible family-orientated weekend event because this is about the whole family. These are families who have fled with their children leaving everything behind and have been split from their relatives," Ms Morris said.
Freya Webb, 18, a student, of Torrin Drive, Radbrook, said: "I think that it's really important that we show our support for Syria. Our country seems to be in the habit of pretending that the war is not happening because it is easy for us to do so. However, the tables could be turned and it could be us in that position.
"I am feel so privileged and I can't imagine what the people of that country are going through. I would like to try and get our government to get things changed."
Lewis Peck, 19, a sports student, of Winston Way, said: "I am against violence and I think any display like this is good. We all have our own trials and tribulations that we have to go through, but at the end of the day fleeing for our lives from war is not something thatvwe've had to endure."
Fran Humphage, 64, a retired teacher, of Belvidere Road, Column, said: "I'm supporting the march to prevent the terrible atrocities that are happening in Syria. I am a member of the church community and Shrewsbury Inter-faith Group and I think that this is a good example of the type of things that inter-faith groups should be doing. It's bringing people together."
Maureen Wilson, of The Labour Party Women's Forum, said: "We have got involved because of the maiming especially of children in a war that is unnecessary and also to support the Syria people."
Campaigners also collected signatures for a petition calling on the town's MP Daniel Kawczynski to push for enforcement of the ceasefire in the Middle East country.