What is Armed Forces Day?

Armed Forces Day has been observed in the UK only since 2009.

It was brought in as one of several measures supposedly designed to increase "respect" for the armed forces following widespread public opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

What's wrong with Armed Forces Day?

The practical effect of events such as Armed Forces Day is to shut down debate about the role of the armed forces, which are presented as unquestionably beneficial and beyond criticism.

"Family-friendly" events on Armed Forces Day give young people a glamourised image of war and armed force.

This adds to the "drip-drip" effect that helps the armed forces to recruit young people once they turn 16. It does not help vulnerable young people, who are presented with violence and unquestioning obedience as a career choice.

What can I do about it?

You can attend one of the protests or vigils listed here. You can also challenge Armed Forces Day by writing to your local paper, calling a radio phone-in, tweeting about #ArmedForcesDay or simply by mentioning it to your friends, family or colleagues.

Feel free to drop us a line at mail@ppu.org.uk if you would like advice or if you get a response.

What about armed forces outside the UK?

The Peace Pledge Union (PPU) stands in solidarity with people around the world challenging armed forces in their own countries. We are the British section of War Resisters' International. We also work alongside other groups in Britain that share our opposition to militarism.



Protest against Armed Forces Day

Give peace a chance

This year, Liverpool will be hosting the national event to mark Armed Forces Day. What would John Lennon say?

Thankfully, there will be vigils, protests and discussion not only in Liverpool but in other towns and cities across the UK.

In Liverpool, the Merseyside Peace Network will host two silent vigils at the gates of the Albert Dock, from 12.00-12.45pm and 2.00-2.45pm (on Saturday 24 June).

The armed forces will be at the Albert Dock with tanks and other weaponry, child-orientated events, recruitment stalls and combat displays. Ironically, this is the very same waterfront where you can see the John Lennon Peace Monument.

Scroll down for more details about events to challenge Armed Forces Day.

'Give Peace a Chance' banner

Brighton: There will be a silent vigil from 11.00am to 12.00 noon on Saturday 24 June at the Old Steine Gardens, with support from Brighton Quakers and Veterans for Peace.

Bury St Edmunds: There will be a silent vigil from 11.00 to 11.30am on Saturday 24 June in the Memorial Peace Garden in the Abbey Gardens. Organised by Bury St Edmunds Quakers with support from others.

Edinburgh: 7.00-9.00pm, Thursday 22 June. Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre will host film screenings and discussion at Augustine United Church, looking at Armed Forces Day and the miltiarisation of young people.

Glasgow: 12.00 noon, Saturday 24 June. Scotland Against Militarism will run a stall near the Buchanon Street Steps from noon onwards (please note this is a change to the previously publicised location).

Littlehampton: 10.00am - 4.00pm on Saturday 24 June. Littlehampton Quaker Meeting House will host an exhibition on Quaker pacifism during wartime. Repeated on Saturday 1 July from 10.30am to 12.00 noon.

Liverpool: The Merseyside Peace Network will host two silent vigils at the gates of the Albert Dock in Liverpool, from 12.00-12.45pm and 2.00-2.45pm on Saturday 24 June. Liverpool will host the Armed Forces Day national celebrations (see above).

York: On Saturday 24 June, Veterans For Peace UK will be at York Quaker Meeting House from 10.00am to 5.00pm. There will be stalls, films and speakers, followed by an evening of music, poetry, food and drink at York Working Men's Club from 7.00pm to 11.00pm.

In some towns, Armed Forces Day was marked a week early. Well done to local people and groups who challenged these early events in Keighley, Stirling and elsewhere.

We can only list events if we know about them! If you know of events not listed here, please drop us a line at mail@ppu.org.uk or tweet us @PPUtoday.

Armed forces stand in a school in Ayrshire