Minneapolis, MN - Over 150 people joined an anti-war protest in Minneapolis, March 18 to mark 14 years since the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq.
The protest gathered on the West Bank neighborhood and included a march through the neighborhood. The neighborhood is home to many Somali immigrant families.
In addition to marking the anniversary, activists focused on the escalation of war planning by the Trump administration. Trump has plans, and has taken steps, to dramatically increase the level of U.S. military intervention in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and elsewhere.
The protest was sponsored by the Minnesota Peace Action Coalition (MPAC) and was organized under the call of “Stop Endless U.S. Wars – Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Pakistan – From Iraq to Standing Rock, No More Oil Wars – Say NO to New U.S. War Threats – Iran, Korea & Everywhere, Say No to Racism & Islamophobia, Funds for Human Needs Not War.”
A statement issued by organizers says, in part, “March 2017 will mark 14 years since the U.S. invasion of Iraq. After years of endless war, Trump wants a massive increase in the Pentagon budget and is moving to escalate the multiple wars and interventions. We say enough!”
The statement goes on to say, “The U.S. is very much at war today, with troops, air strikes, drone attacks under way in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen and more countries. In addition, the Trump administration has threatened military action in Iran and Korea.
“U.S. intervention will do nothing to fight terrorism. U.S. wars, air strikes and drone attacks are terrorism. The U.S. war machine does not intervene to protect people or to fight terrorism, but to serve U.S. economic interests. The peoples of the Middle East must be able to set their own course and future without U.S. intervention,” the statement concludes.
Speaking at the rally Meredith Aby-Keirstead, a member of the Anti-War Committee said, “In the past two months President Trump has taken a foreign policy situation he inherited - in which the U.S. was already at war in multiple countries - and has thrown gasoline on the fire.”
“Trump says he’s sending in 1000 more ground troops in Syria which will double U.S. forces there and will escalate and prolong the six-year conflict. He has escalated the war in Yemen and increased drone attacks by 432% - which beats Obama, who was previously number 1. Trump proposed a $54 billion increase in military spending which would increase the largest military budget in the world by 10%. On March 1 Michael Flynn, Trump’s national security advisor at the time, issued a statement ‘officially putting Iran on notice’ and yesterday his administration said that a pre-emptive strike against north Korea isn’t off the table,” Aby-Keirstead continued.
Groups that endorsed the protest and helped get out the word for people to join included, Anti-War Committee, Black Lives Matter, Saint Paul, Every Church A Peace Church, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Filipinos for Immigrant Rights in MN, International Socialist Organization (Twin Cities), Mayday Books, Military Families Speak Out (MN chapter) , Native Lives Matter, Rise Up Times, St. Paul Eastside Neighbors for Peace, St. Joan of Arc Peacemakers, Socialist Action, Students for a Democratic Society (UMN), Twin Cities Peace Campaign, Veterans for Peace, Women Against Military Madness and Workers International League.