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Minnesota Opposes Occupation of Iraq

by Meredith Aby-Keirstead |
June 17, 2003
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Minneapolis, MN - The Bush administration pretends that the U.S. efforts to occupy Iraq are going smoothly. Bush acts like his 'peace plan' for the Middle East is popular. Meanwhile, activists here are continuing to organize against the U.S. efforts to occupy the Middle East.

On April 24, the Minneapolis-St. Paul-based Anti-War Committee protested against MN Senator Coleman's support for the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Over 100 people came to the demonstration. A delegation met with Coleman's communications director to slam the senator's backing of the war on Iraq. After their meeting, nine people with banners blocked traffic on the busy thoroughfare in front of Coleman's office for over an hour and a half. The nine were arrested and charged with unlawful assembly.

Matt Hass was arrested at the demonstration. He explained, "The civil disobedience action brought attention to the fact that Iraqis do NOT have control over their country under U.S. military occupation. The action was so important because now, even more than before the inevitable war, the people of Iraq need our solidarity."

On June 14, anti-war activists demonstrated in Northeast Minneapolis to voice their opposition to the occupation of Iraq and Palestine. Banners, signs and chants were in Arabic, Spanish and English as the demonstrators rallied and marched through the multilingual neighborhood. The protest was organized by the Anti-War Committee, with the support of Northeast Neighbors for Peace. Activists organized the demonstration to demand that the U.S. get out of the Middle East.

Jared Cruz from the Anti-War Committee spoke to the rally, "In Iraq, over a million people were killed by U.S. sanctions. Then thousands were killed by the invasion. Now hundreds of thousands of people are marching and getting shot at because the people want the U.S. out of their country."

This is not the only example of U.S. sponsored occupation. Cruz went on to criticize the U.S. role in Palestine and Afghanistan. "The U.S. has supported the Israeli government for years, with billions of dollars in war aid, as well as military equipment and political 'cover' in the UN and internationally for genocide and crimes. Now, the U.S. is pushing a 'peace' plan that does not allow Palestinians to return to their land or to have a country that is anything more than a large concentration camp!"

Cruz continued, "In Afghanistan, U.S. bombings continue, dozens are being arrested, fighting continues, and there's a weak central government that the U.S. must prop up because it would fall the minute the U.S. left! It has no popular support because it wasn't chosen by the people! Where is the sovereignty for these countries? There is none! But there is the imposition of U.S. political, economic and military plans."

The resistance in this country to the occupation of Iraq and to U.S. military aid to Israel needs to grow. As the people of the Middle East continue to resist, similarly the anti war movement in the U.S. needs to continue its voice of opposition!