Critics tore into the activists’ arguments that sending the aircraft carrier out into international seas could somehow provoke a war. More than 1,800 Express.co.uk readers felt compelled to express their views after this publication covered Saturday’s demonstration.
Many pointed to the inconsistencies in the protesters’ reasons for turning up at Guildhall Square to publicly oppose the deployment of the Royal Navy’s 65,000-tonne vessel.
Some sought to remind their fellow Britons that if it wasn’t for sacrifices made by British soldiers during the Second World War, the landscape of the globe could look very different today.
One person pointed out that “if it wasn’t for our armed forces” those protesting would unlikely be alive today”.
They added: “Our soldiers, who may I say were family members of people of the UK, died to give you lot freedom.
“You should be proud of our armed forces.”
Others dubbed the protesters “pacifists” and said they were guilty of engaging in “anti-patriotic” behaviour.
One reader questioned: “Why don’t they protest against Russian submarines circling the UK waters?”
One furious reader lashed out at the anti-war campaigners, saying they are perfectly happy to allow others to lay down their lives for their country while they stand on the sidelines and protest.
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He explained: “Maybe we should send the whiny anti-war brigade to Belarus?
“They would soon learn why we need the armed forces to protect our freedoms.”
Another critic asked what the alternative to deploying the huge vessel would be.
He wrote: “The woke brigade are at it again.
“Most countries have some of their fleet out and about, get over it.
“What shall we send out? A few rowing boats?”
Britain’s First Sea Lord, Admiral Tony Radakin, insisted the vessel would operate in a “non-confrontational” fashion.
He said sending HMS Queen Elizabeth out would “promote the UK’s post-Brexit trade agenda”.
But members of Stop the War refused to believe his reasons.
Richard Spence, who organised last weekend’s protest in Portsmouth, said: “These aircraft carriers have been referred to multiple times as the physical embodiment of global Britain and part of our new foreign policy approach to the rest of the world after having left the European Union.
“This strategy includes things like increasing the military budget by billions of pounds.
“It also increased the number of nuclear warheads by 40 percent.”