Anti-war protests today/tomorrow in Providence

UPDATE: Another Protest (today).

From the RI Community Coalition for Peace:

On March 19, Rhode Islanders will mark the beginning of the sixth year of the war on Iraq with a march through downtown Providence followed by a rally on the mall side of the State House. At 4:00 pm, participants will gather at Burnside Park, where the march will form and move toward the headquarters of weapons manufacturer, Textron. The march will also pass two military recruiting offices.


These actions are sponsored by the RI Spring Mobilization Committee, a coalition of community, faith-based, and political groups. Members of the Committee are willing to share their views on the war and the March 19 actions. Some will deliver brief statements at the rally after the march. The following comments capture some of the reasons for this protest.


“The cost of just one day of the occupation of Iraq is obscene by any measure,” notes Martha Yager, Director of the American Friends Service Committee(SENE). “When we consider that basic human needs are going unmet right here at home, we should all be saying “no more” to five years of war and occupation.”


“With over one million Iraqi deaths, millions more displaced, and close to four thousand U.S. military dead, this immoral war is a senseless tragedy,” observes John Gallagher of the RI Community Coalition for Peace, “and since it’s all based upon lies it’s blatantly criminal.”


From the Providence chapter of Students for a Democratic Society, which plans to gather at noon tomorrow, at the Beneficent Church, Empire and Weybosset streets.

On March 20th, 2008 the world will mark the 5th anniversary of the illegal and unjust War in Iraq. While Providence SDS supports and plans to take part in the Providence anti-war march on the 19th, we feel that simply taking the streets is no longer adequate action in the face of the continuing crimes against humanity perpetrated by our government in Iraq and Afghanistan. On March 20th SDS and fellow anti-war activists will take direct action and engage in civil disobedience to challenge and resist the American occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and the military machine that makes them possible.


The US Military is being used as a tool of illegal aggression and unwarranted occupation.  With 4,500 American and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghani lives lost it is more than past time to stop employing the US military as a tool of violence and murder. As politicians make, at best, wavering commitments to end the occupations and after a year of broken promises of withdrawal, Providence SDS is no longer willing to wait for politicians to take action.  With no end in sight we are now prepared to take direct action against US imperialism in Iraq and Afghanistan.


The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the rest of the bloated US military, are an unfathomable drain on the US economy and on our capacity to provide a just standard of living for all people in this country.  The cost of the two wars alone already stands at over 700 billion dollars. This is on top of an annual Department of Defense budget that averages over 400 billion dollars as well as additional spending on nuclear arms and research in the Department of Energy budget. If veterans' benefits are included in these figures 54% of the US budget in the 2009 fiscal year will be spent on the military.  When millions of people in America are losing access to or remain without homes, medical care, education or other basic needs, such spending is not only wasteful, but indefensible. Rhode Islanders are forced to contribute over 400 million dollars a year to financing the occupations, a number that is striking in its resemblance to the current state deficit, which causes much pain and deprivation to the people of Rhode Island. . . .


In order to raise local awareness of these issues and their impact on the Providence and Rhode Island community and resist their ongoing existence, Providence SDS and fellow anti-war activists will engage in direct action and civil disobedience on Thursday March 20th at 12:00pm. We invite and encourage the press to attend in the interest of reporting on world issues that intersect with local events.


Providence SDS is composed of Brown SDS, RISD SDS, Providence Area High School SDS, as well as other members of the Providence community.

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