Anti-war supporters gather to demand 'truth and justice'

Anti-war supporters staged a demonstration in Westminster as Sir John Chilcot presented his long-awaited report on the UK's role in the Iraq war.

Organisers estimated around 150 protesters gathered opposite the building in which families of some of the British soldiers who lost their lives during the conflict were reading the report for the first time.

Ex-soldiers who served in Iraq joined leaders of the Stop the War Coalition, CND and other groups to demand "truth and justice" and called for Tony Blair and others to face the full force of the law.

One protester wore a mask of the former prime minister with fake blood on his hands.

Former soldier Ben Griffin who served in Iraq in 2005 called for Mr Blair and former foreign secretary Jack Straw to face criminal trials.

He said: "I was involved in attacking civilians in their homes, taking men who were then tortured by American soldiers in prisons.

"We were responsible for an occupation during which many of the Geneva conventions were broken."

Mr Griffin, a member of the Veterans for Peace group, added: "I'm sure the establishment would like to hold a lowly soldier to account for those crimes.

"But, however, it should be the people at the top. Tony Blair, Jack Straw, General Jackson, the head of MI5, the head of MI6. Those people should have criminal proceedings brought against them."

Another ex-serviceman John, who is an anti-war poet, said: "It took the Hillsborough families 27 years to get justice so if we have to wait that long we are prepared to for Tony Blair to face justice."

Among the demonstrators were a group calling for support for embattled Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

They directed a "shame on you" chant towards members of Mr Corbyn's shadow cabinet who resigned last month in a protest against his leadership.

Chris Nineham, of Stop the War Coalition, said he thought around 150 protesters were at the demonstration.

He said: "What the majority of people want from the next few days is an open admission that the war on Iraq was disastrous, illegal and wrong in itself, and that those who took us into it, led by Tony Blair, did so knowingly and by lying to people and parliament.

"Anything short of this will surely confirm people's suspicions that the Chilcot circus has been yet another convoluted attempt at a cover-up."