People lay teddy bears at the rally for Aleppo outside Downing Street. Photograph: Ray Tang/Rex Shutterstock

Hundreds of people including the actor Carey Mulligan have protested in central London to call for the government to end the bloodshed in Syria.

Mulligan joined the demonstration just opposite the gates to Downing Street, where teddy bears were later laid in a poignant message from campaigners about the human cost of the long-running conflict.

Mulligan said Britain could lead the way in efforts to address the plight of children caught up in the bitter war. The crowd included children wearing “Save Aleppo” T-shirts and other people carrying placards urging a “No-bomb zone now”, while some flew Syrian flags.

A small light brown-coloured teddy bear belonging to Mulligan’s young daughter Evelyn was among the pile. “Since having my daughter it just drives home even more how unimaginable it would be for my daughter to be in any of these situations and to have to deal with any of this,” she said. “It just really drives me to speak out and do more if I can.”

The actor told the crowd: “I’m safe in the knowledge that when I put Evie down to bed she is safe. The parents in Aleppo aren’t. They don’t know what the night will bring.”

Mulligan, who is an ambassador for War Child, described the demonstration as an opportunity to “stand up and say that we need to do something real”.

She has previously spoken out to say the inaction in Calais, where many unaccompanied refugee children became stranded in the refugee camp, made her ashamed to be British.

Mulligan said the arrival of young refugees in Croydon this week made her feel “very proud to be British in this regard – we have made a strong stance”.

A letter has been delivered to Number 10 demanding Theresa May take action to help end the violence. It comes after the prime minister insisted on Friday that the EU must keep “all options” open if Russia continued to commit atrocities in the conflict zone.

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22.10.2016

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