A well-known journalist and peace activist yesterday told hundreds of people they were showing the world Bradford “cares about injustice” in a city centre protest about drone attacks in Pakistan.

Yvonne Ridley, who was captured and imprisoned by the Taliban in Afghanistan weeks after the 9/11 attacks, was speaking at the peaceful protest organised by the Bradford Global Justice Movement in Centenary Square outside the town hall.

The protest was designed to highlight civilian killings in Pakistan due to the use of unmanned aerial vehicles. However, the crowd did not reach 5,000 people as had been initially predicted by organisers.

Miss Ridley, 54, told the crowd of several hundred people drone attacks authorised by the United States in Pakistan were the main reason for an increase in the number of suicide bombings in the country and claimed there was a correlation between the two.

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how to stop the suicide bombings – stop the drone attacks,” she told the crowd. “By turning up today, you are showing the world you care about the injustices raining down on the people of Pakistan.”

Miss Ridley was one of several people to address the crowd, which was also shown a video message from former international cricketer Imran Khan, of the current Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the Movement for Justice.

He said it was “very important for people outside of Pakistan to understand the devastation caused by drone attacks.”

Sarah Cartin, vice-chairman of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), said drone attacks in Asia or anywhere else would not bring peace.

“Remote control warfare will not bring peace and unity anywhere in the world,” she said.

Bradford West MP George Galloway was the final speaker at the protest.

“Bradford has led the way on this as with so many other things and it’s time for the rest of the country to follow,” he said.

Professor Dave Webb, chairman of CND, who was not at the protest, said: “Civilian casualties of drone strikes are estimated as high as a third to one half of all victims. Operated by remote control from thousands of miles away, these pilotless killing machines are fuelling anger and terrorism around the world.”