On the 23rd of July 2006, US born peace activist Matthew Hahn set out on a three week bicycle ride from London to Prague in protest against George W. Bush & Tony Blair’s ‘WAR ON TERROR’.
He set off from Brian Haw’s permanent peace encampment at Parliament Square in Central London and cycle through Belgium, Germany, and into Czech Republic meeting with other peace organisations along the way inviting them to “’Ping’ for Peace” by handing out bicycle bells. He ended his journey in Wenceslas Square in Prague where he met fellow activists from Hnuti DUHA, a Czech Peace Organisation. He hoped to raise awareness of the growing movement against further aggression by the US and UK and to promote peaceful rather than military options.
“I cycled to Prague as a protest against this ‘War on Terror’ madness that was currently being propagated by our leaders. I tried asking for peace. I tried petitioning for peace. I tried of demonstrating for peace,” Matthew says. ‘’I felt our leaders drove me to this ludicrous position because the sane arguments for peace did not seem to be working.
“Wenceslas Square was my destination because it is the home of the Velvet Revolution. I believed that my country & the UK could use one of those now: a peaceful revolution from the people to end this madness. My “’Ping’ for Peace” bicycle ride was ridiculous and I admit it, but what our leaders are doing is repulsive. I have ran out of other options. I was matching our governments’ lunacy with some lunacy of my own.”
Matthew has been active in the anti-war movement in the UK since arriving in September 2001 at the start of the ‘War on Terror.’
”What our two governments have done in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world hasn’t made us any safer — and it killed too many people without reason. Two more nuclear powers in the world since their ‘War on Terror’ began? How
is THAT making us safer? Our leaders now want to do more of the same by threatening and posturing towards North Korea and Iran. All of this appalls me.
Matthew asked for people to join him on the 23rd at Victoria Tower Gardens at 11am with all types of bells & other noise-makers to see him off. He also be charted his trip though a blog.
Matthew’s ride was organized in partnership with the Brent Stop the War Coalition. Other supporters included Half-Pipe Cycle Shop, the Park Road Pilot, & theatre503.
© Matthew Hahn 2020