First Anti War Protest After Election

The first protest of the war since Obama is president-elect took place in New York on Broadway at Federal Plaza on Wednesday, November 5, 2008, the day after the election, at five o’clock in the evening.

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Federal Plaza on Broadway in New York

Since Obama declares that he will increase military spending, retain a military presence in Iraq, and escalate the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan, those of us who want to see peace and justice for the citizens of these occupied countries and for ourselves as well, showed up to protest now.  These occupations are years old and were expanded by the Bush regime in October with no outcry from Obama.  We do not want to wait for Obama to be installed to start letting him and the world know that the illegal occupations and attacks are not acceptable, at least to some Americans.

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IVAW member, Matthis Chiroux, who refused to deploy to Iraq and now works to stop the atrocities there.

Among the protesters were IVAW member Matthis Chiroux,  whose story we told on this blog earlier this year and author Larry Everest who will be speaking next Tuesday, November 11, at 7pm at the World Can’t Wait event at Judson Church.

In a conversation about why we protest in which I mentioned that I do not want to have to say to my grandchildren that I stood by and did nothing while my country committed war crimes, Chiroux said to me that he refused deployment to Iraq because he thought about what he would say to any children he might have.  He did not want to have to tell them that he knew the occupation was criminal but he participated in it anyway.  Here is a link to the DemocracyNow interview of Matthis by Amy Goodman, which also took place on November 5.

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Larry Everest, author of Oil, Power and Empire: Iraq and the U.S. Global Agenda who spoke at Camp Casey in 2006 and, to the right, Debra Sweet, head of The World Can’t Wait which organized this protest, the first of Obama’s regime.

Everest, a journalist who has covered the middle east for twenty years, said he was glad to see us out on the street, not having in his words, “drunk the Obama Coolaide.”  He mentioned that some of Obama’s advisors and likely members of his government are linked to the neo conservatives*, the very people who gave us the invasion of Iraq to begin with.  That and Obama’s close connection to the corporatocracy mean that he will not likely relinguish the military aggression begun under the current regime.  It is more likely that we can rely on him to do exactly what he has promised he will in these matters.  It behooves those of us who do not want to be responsible for the murder of millions and the destruction of whole areas of innocent countries to resist.

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So often protest is not warm and dry.

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The indefatigable and ever cheerful Bob Parsons distributing flyers for the event at which Larry Everest and others will speak on Tuesday, November 11 at Judson Church at 7pm.

As you can see from the pictures, we stood in the rain, but our spirits were not dampened.  The federal police arrived to let us know they were photographing us as part of their “report.”  It reminded me that Obama voted for FISA even after being nominated and that the spying and surveillance are likely to continue unabated under his regime.  They also let us know we would be tolerated only a short time.Not needing to outstay their tolerance on this first protest under the new regime-elect, we ultimately marched down Broadway to City Hall chanting:

No more torture, no more war, no matter who you voted for.

and

No more torture, no more war; this is what we’re fighting for. 

I was delighted to be holding one end of the banner that led the parade.  Chiroux and I talked later about how much we like noisy protest and how we were glad to finish up with this little march.

There is now one walkway between the Broadway side of City Hall and the Brooklyn Bridge open, so we turned into it and continued over to that side of the plaza where we finished and dispersed.

*NB
About Dennis Ross, a top Obama advisor, Michael Flynn wrote on November 3, 2008:

“Ross’ close association with neoconservatives has deepened over the years, becoming especially pronounced in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He supported the invasion of Iraq and, during the run-up to the 2008 presidential elections, repeatedly teamed up with writers from groups like the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) to craft hard-line policies toward Iran.”

and further:

“Among the report’s proposals are undertaking a major military buildup in the Gulf; pressuring Russia to halt weapons assistance; and, if the U.S. agrees to hold direct talks with Tehran without insisting that the country first cease enrichment activities, setting a predetermined compliance deadline and be prepared to apply increasingly harsh repercussions if these are not met, leading ultimately to U.S. military strikes.

“Calling the report a ‘roadmap to war,’ Inter Press Service’s Jim Lobe writes, ‘In other words, if Tehran is not eventually prepared to permanently abandon its enrichment of uranium on its own soil – a position that is certain to be rejected by Iran ab initio – war becomes inevitable, and all intermediate steps, even including direct talks if the new president chooses to pursue them, will amount to going through the motions. … What is a top Obama adviser [Dennis Ross] doing signing on to it?'”

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One Response to “First Anti War Protest After Election”

  1. nancy Says:

    Barbara sends word from the Chicago:

    We have some people out here carrying posters at polling places today (Nov. 4) saying “Only Peace!” and “Peace Now,” etc. Also, there were people at the big Obama rally there with peace posters.

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