Terence Bunch

Photojournalist & Writer

As the British General Election draws to an end, an election poster campaign truck is driven repeatedly around Parliament Square serving as a reminder of the populist narrative that underpins the course of the war, and illustrating why the British Government, in whatever guise, are too weak to bring this ruinous episode to a close. Parliament Square, London. 4th May 2010. All pictures © Terence Bunch.

Democracy Village Anti War Protest. Parliament Square, London. 4th May 2010.

By Published Last Edited 2010-05-04 00:00:00

As the British General Election of 2010 draws to an end and the people prepare to vote, and after nine years of a now financially ruinous war, Parliament Square swells with a new Democracy Village formed to bring UK involvement in the war in Afghanistan to an end.

Over the past 10 days, deaths continue to be reported from Afghanistan from a range of causes including suicide bombings and ISAF/NATO (International Security Assistance Force/North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) airstrikes.

The majority of those killed being civilians. In 2010, civilian deaths in Afghanistan continue to rise with 12 dead after their vehicle hit a roadside bomb on April 28th. Depressingly, both the US and UK military continue to insist on using the term Insurgent or Taliban as an indiscriminate moniker to describe what is now, in large part, the Afghani civilian people themselves.

On April 21st, Nato commanders were forced to apologise after shooting dead four Afghanis in their vehicle and then describing them as known Insurgents. Among the four dead were a police officer and a 12 year old boy. Nato had previously claimed they had used Biometric Data fingerprinting to identify them as Insurgents, a claim which was later hurriedly dropped.

The village forms with toilet, kitchen and sleeping areas and calls upon those engaged with bringing the war to an end to join them as the election period passes and a new, albeit weakened, British political environment begins.

Parliament Square, London. 4th May 2010.

The Democracy Village has now begun opposite the British Parliament building.

The Democracy Village has now begun opposite the British Parliament building.

A large placard informs those passing why the village has formed and what its intentions are along with a request for people to join them. The placard declares that the village is an open forum for discussion on any issue to do with bringing the war in Afghanistan to a close.

A large placard informs those passing why the village has formed and what its intentions are along with a request for people to join them. The placard declares that the village is an open forum for discussion on any issue to do with bringing the war in Afghanistan to a close.

The placard is finished of with the word Democracy.

The placard is finished of with the word Democracy.

Toilet facilities have been fitted.

Toilet facilities have been fitted.

Campaigners gather in the kitchen area and prepare food. The kitchen area was built earlier in the week after torrential rain threatened to wash the site away.

Campaigners gather in the kitchen area and prepare food. The kitchen area was built earlier in the week after torrential rain threatened to wash the site away.

Campaigners cook a meal on a rocket stove as the evening wears on.

Campaigners cook a meal on a rocket stove as the evening wears on.

A sign asks for supplies including bedding, fuel, blankets, pots, pans, toilet supplies, chairs and tables.

A sign asks for supplies including bedding, fuel, blankets, pots, pans, toilet supplies, chairs and tables.

In a few short months after the British Election takes place, the United Kingdom will conduct a Strategic Defence Review of all military spending, 18 months after the UK economy is decimated in the worst economic downturn ever seen. Current spending on maintaining British forces in Afghanistan is currently comparable to what the UK spends on education.

In a few short months after the British Election takes place, the United Kingdom will conduct a Strategic Defence Review of all military spending, 18 months after the UK economy is decimated in the worst economic downturn ever seen. Current spending on maintaining British forces in Afghanistan is currently comparable to what the UK spends on education.