St. Paul, MN - On May 18, as news reports stated that 1000 U.S. military deaths had occurred in Afghanistan, over 70 people joined a Saint Paul protest at the office of U.S. Representative Betty McCollum to demand that she vote against a $33 billion request for additional funding for the war in Afghanistan.
The U.S. Congress will be considering the proposal in the next few weeks.
Participants gathered in front of McCollum’s office in Saint Paul, holding signs and banners.
A delegation later went inside the office. Six people who refused to leave the office after McCollum would not meet with the delegation were arrested by Saint Paul police.
Meredith Aby, a member of the Anti-War Committee who was arrested in the protest stated, “We are opposed to any escalation of the war and we want the U.S. to get out of Afghanistan now. We are building a visible and active movement against the war.”
The May 18 peace action is one in a series of activities by a coalition of peace and anti-war groups to oppose the additional funding for the war in Afghanistan. In recent weeks, protests have been held at the offices of U.S. Senators Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar.
The congressional vote on additional funding for the Afghan war is expected to occur by the end of May. The vote is timed to coincide with a major U.S. military offensive against Kandahar, Afghanistan, reported to be planned for June.
A statement issued by organizers, states: “The purpose of our action is to urge Rep. McCollum to vote against the supplemental bill and to call for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.”
The statement continues: “It is imperative that we speak out at this time against the war in Afghanistan. Further assaults on Afghan cities and towns can only result in more bloodshed, misery and death for U.S. soldiers and the people of Afghanistan.”
The May 18 action in Saint Paul was one of nearly 100 visits planned at the offices of congressional representatives across the country on May 17 and 18 by peace activists who oppose the additional funding for war in Afghanistan.
The May 18 protest was sponsored by the Anti-War Committee, Merriam Park Neighbors for Peace, Twin Cities Peace Campaign and Women Against Military Madness.