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Over 200 people protest in Minneapolis: ‘End the war in Afghanistan now’

By staff |
October 11, 2012
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Lead banners at Minneapolis anti war march.
Lead banners at Minneapolis anti war march. (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Minneapolis, MN - On Oct. 7 over 200 people joined a Minneapolis anti-war protest to mark the anniversary of the start of the war on Afghanistan with a call for an end to war and for the troops to be brought home.

The Minneapolis protest gathered in the busy Uptown area and then marched over a mile to a closing rally.

The protest was initiated by the Minnesota Peace Action Coalition (MPAC). MPAC issued a statement that says in part, “The war in Afghanistan is now 11 years old, the longest war in U.S. history. Along with over 2000 U.S. military personnel, thousands of Afghans have lost their lives, thousands more injured and many more displaced.”

The MPAC statement continues, “Despite claims that the U.S. is winding down the war, tens of thousands of U.S. troops will stay there through 2014. The U.S. has plans to keep thousands of troops, contractors, CIA operatives and air power (including drones), there until 2024.”

“All opposed to the continuation of this war must speak out. Without an independent marching movement, the U.S. government will stay in Afghanistan not only for another two years, but many more years after that,” the MPAC statement continues.

“The people of Afghanistan want the occupation forces out of their country. The people of the U.S. want an end to the war and for the troops to be brought home,” the MPAC statement concludes.

Members of Occupy Minnesota joined the anti-war protest. Occupy Minnesota was holding a gathering to mark one year since the launching of the Occupy movement in Minnesota. Occupy Minnesota participants held their own march to meet up with the anti-war protest.

Mia Overly, a member of Students for a Democratic Society at the University of Minnesota was among the speakers. Overly explained that her brother is in the U.S. military in Afghanistan.

Overly said, “Brothers and sisters, as you know we are all here today to mark 11 years of the war and occupation in Afghanistan. But I am here today also as a person directly affected by this unjust and inhumane occupation. My brother is one of the young Marines that are currently in Afghanistan. To end this war is personal for me!”

Overly continued, “Young soldiers and marines are dying in Afghanistan every day, 31 every month on average. More than 2000 American troops have died in this 11-year war. These deaths go unrecognized; but they are the lives of our brothers, our sisters, our daughters and sons. Even more unnoticed than the forgotten American deaths are the deaths of our Afghan brothers and sisters. Countless Afghans die every year from the U.S. occupation of their country. The U.S. finds these deaths so inconsequential that there isn’t even a officially released death count. But you can bet these deaths are in the millions.”

Another speaker, Meredith Aby of the Anti War Committee told the crowd, “For 11 years now we have had the War on Terror – a war on the peoples of the world in the name of ‘fighting terrorism.’ A war that has targeted Muslim and Arab people abroad and at home. A war that has eroded our civil liberties at home. A war that has killed thousands of U.S. service members and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans. A war that has deprived school children and the poor of the government tax dollars that they need to read, eat and survive.”

The Minneapolis protest was organized under the call of “End the War in Afghanistan Now!”, as well as opposing in wars in Syria and Iran and calling for funds for jobs, housing and other human needs, not war.

The weekend of October 5-7 saw anti-war protests in many cities around the U.S. to speak out against the war.

A wide range of organizations, including AFSCME Local 3800, the Anti-War Committee, Military Families Speak Out, Students for a Democratic Society, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Twin Cities Peace Campaign, Veterans for Peace, and Women Against Military Madness endorsed the Minneapolis protest.