AFEW DOZEN Christians of various denominations, standing in silent protest against the Vietnam war on the steps of St. M artin-in-theFields • Church, Trafalgar Square, last Saturday morning, swelled to 300 as they marched round the square and down the Strand to St. Paul's Cathedral. It was raining.
They carried crosses and pictures of dead Vietnamese with the Buddhist inscription. "If we kill our brothers, with whom, then, shall we live?" Banners urged America to stop bombing North Vietnam and both sides to slow down the fighting.
At an inter-denominational service in St. Martin's, Fr. Simon Blake, O.P., chairman of the Christian Campaign Against Nuclear Disarmament, said:
"We need to remind those who see the war as a crusade against atheistic Communism that every Vietnamese is a temple of the Holy Spirit. Christ came that we should have life more abundantly, and this means life here and now as well as in eternity."
When the marchers reached St. Paul's the Anglican Archdeacon of London, the Ven. Martin Sullivan, welcomed them. Mr. Denis Knight, a Catholic teacher, read a pas sage from the Old Testament and Miss Nancy Richardson, a Quaker, read the Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount.
The Human Rights Day event was sponsored by Christian CND, Christian Action, the Friends' Peace Committee, the Fellowship of Reconciliation and Pax.
PLEA FOR IMPRISONED On Sunday another Human Rights Days celebration was organised by Amnesty International at the Mermaid Theatre, where the audience heard actors, singers and writers plea for the world's thousands who are in prison because of their political or religious views.
Pleas were read for Boris Pasternak; Albie Sachs, who spent 168 days in a South African prison; and David Mitchell, a young American in jail because he refused to be drafted for Vietnam. Past and present conditions in Russia, France, Hungary and Algeria were described. A tall candle ringed in barbed wire burned at the back of the stage.
"In harvest time the fruit will be for you and not for me," sang West Indian Cy Grant. Dame Peggy Ashcroft read the words of Helen Joseph, an Englishwoman under five-year house arrest in South Africa.
"I am sometimes ashamed to be half free," she wrote. "These banishments without trial are the stepping stones which lead to a police state, where the rights of individuals don't matter."
Playwright John Mortimer warned : "It's easier to sit for five minutes in Trafalgar Square than 15 years in a South African prison, to write a poem about Vietnam than think out a practical solution. It's easy to warm ourselves with a cosy glow of indignation at these stories of suffering people."
C.W.L. round trip to Australia
THIRTY Tyneside members of the Catholic Women's League are to spend more than £10,000 on a round trip to Sydney, Australia, to visit relatives for two months. It is believed to be the biggest long-distance block booking ever made in Britain. Their tickets will cost £334 each.
The organiser, Mrs. Alice Joyce, of Church Street, Hebburn, Co. Durham, will visit her brother Mr. Edward Self, whom she has not seen for 40 years. He lives in Perth.