To mark the anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq people in cities and countries around the world will take to the streets in protest. We hear what actions will be taking place from protest organizers in New York, New Mexico, San Francisco, Chicago, London and Spain. [include transcript]
This weekend, to mark the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq people in cities and countries around the world will take to the streets to protest the invasion and the ongoing occupation of Baghdad.
Last night we called protest organizers and marchers in cities across the globe to hear what actions they are taking one year after the bombs fell on Iraq.
From New York to New Mexico, San Francisco to Chicago, London to Spain these are the voices of resistance.
MARY ALMANATHY: My name is Mary Almanathy, and I am with the Action Coalition of Taos (ACT) in Taos, New Mexico. Donald Rumsfeld has a number of estates in Taos, New Mexico and claims that this is his home. We have built a 15-foot effigy of Dr. Strangefeld, that’s what we call him locally. It is Rumsfeld on a missile. He is hugging a missile and he has the Dr. Strangelove black gloves holding it. And on the missile, which stands about 20 feet, it says U.S.A. WMD. And we are holding a rally on March 20th, joining the worldwide demonstrations, calling for regime change in the United States and an end to the occupation in Iraq, and no more wars by this administration.
ANNE SCHERAZY: My name is Anne Scherazy. I live in New York City. And I am marching with United for Peace and Justice on March 20th, because this is the first anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. We were out on February 15th trying to stop the invasion and now we are out on the first anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Because more and more people are realizing that this occupation is resulting in deaths–more and more deaths and maiming of American soldiers, more and more deaths and maiming of innocent Iraqi people, and we’re hoping that we will have many, many people out on March 20th. There will be speakers, including Dennis Kucinich, Presidential candidate, who happens to be the only person of that kind who spoke on February 15th and is now coming back on the anniversary to speak with us again, and is the only candidate who seems to understand that we have to stop all these lies and stop all the killing.
GOTRA ZIKI: My name is Gotra Ziki and I’m speaking on behalf of the Stop the War Coalition from London, England. And on Saturday, March the 20th, in London, tens of thousands of people will be joining demonstrators around the world, including many in the United States of America, to commemorate the start of the war on Iraq. On the demonstration, as I said which we expect to be very, very big, we, at the end of it, we will be arriving in central London and we will hold a minute of silence for all the Iraqi civilians that died as a result of this illegal, unjust war. All the American, British and other coalition soldiers that are being killed as a result of this war and we’ll be remembering the Spanish and the people that were killed in Madrid last week. We’ll be releasing thousands of balloons to mark their deaths and the theme of the demonstration is- “A Year of Lies.”
SANDRA SCHWARZ: My name is Sandra Schwarz. I work for the American Friends Service Committee in the Peace and Education division and we are members of the United for Peace and Justice Coalitions in San Francisco. I want to tell you about two events that are happening this weekend. On Friday, March 19th at 5:00 p.m., we will be gathering for an interfaith memorial to mourn the loss of human life and to redirect our energies towards a more peaceful future. We especially mourn those who have died in Iraq, but we also mourn those that–the many other casualties that have taken place in the past year. We are aware that the cost of destruction in one place is paid for by deprivation in another. Some people will be “vigiling” all night long, and then meeting the mobilization, which is taking place on Saturday at Dolores Park in San Francisco. There will be speeches and music and then marching to the Civic Center.
JOE MOORE: My name is Joe Moore; I’m a member of the City Council of the City of Chicago, Illinois. I was the lead sponsor of a resolution that the City Council of Chicago passed last year against the pre-emptive military invasion of Iraq. And shortly after the President announced that the United States was invading Iraq, there was a massive anti-war demonstration held in the city of Chicago and after the demonstration, an impromptu march was conducted. The march ended on a sour note when over 800 demonstrators were arrested, really without probable cause and were detained overnight without the benefit of attorneys and on the anniversary of the both the invasion of Iraq and those unlawful arrests, another demonstration is being held at the location where those arrests were made. And we are going to be marching in solidarity, not only with those who have opposed the invasion of Iraq and the continued military occupation of that country, but also in solidarity with those who were arrested without cause for exercising their First Amendment rights. And we’re marching at the same time that those arrests took place. Unfortunately, the mayor and the city leaders have not seen fit to grant a permit. Nonetheless, the demonstrators and myself feel very strongly about the fact that we should be allowed to exercise our First Amendment rights and that given the–given the importance of the issues at stake, that we be allowed to march.
SHEILA STUMP: My name is Sheila Stump. I live at Hailey House for Boston Catholic workers and last year on December 29th, over the Feast of the Holy Innocence, I took part in a faith and resistance retreat; that is a gathering of different Catholic worker and resistance communities, and part of that retreat, we went to the Pentagon to protest the planning for, and preparing for, and actually carrying out of war that is planned for in that building and as part of our protest, my partner Scott Langley and I walked up to the pillars and poured our blood on the pillars of the Pentagon to expose the bloodiness that is prepared for in that building because war is the preparation for bloodshed. Tomorrow on March 19th, Scott and I go to trial in Alexandria, Virginia on two charges, which holds six months each and we expect to spend time in prison. So, during the March 20th rallies in New York City, we’ll probably be spending time in prison. But we’ll hold the protest in our hearts and continue to struggle for peace and justice behind the prison walls.
LOIS ALEVAN: My name is Lois Alevan. I am from Spain and I represent the Arab solidarity community and the Spanish campaign for lifting the sanctions on Iraq. Regarding the 20th March, the International Day against the occupation of Iraq and Palestine. We are preparing here many, many demonstrations, more than 50 demonstrations in the main cities in all over the country. And we hope that, again, this year after one year of the invasion of Iraq everybody will go out to the streets, take the streets to protest against the invasion and against the occupation of Iraq. Especially now in this moment that — after 11th March and especially after the last elections, the presidential elections that we hold last weekend, we go to take out of the power the Spanish government that put us in the invasion of Iraq and sent our troops to occupy Iraq. And regarding this also, we hope that the next Prime Minister of the new government in Spain will fulfill his promise of taking out the Spanish troops from Iraq. And these are our main demands for the next 20th of March demonstration and, of course, we are — more than 85% of the Spanish people are against occupation and I hope that — we hope that people will take the streets again and will show their anger against this unfair occupation of Iraq.