Sunday, August 31, 2008

Saying "No" to Torture and the Republican Agenda

Demonstrations against the policies of the Republican party began today in St. Paul, ahead of tomorrow’s start to the Republican National Convention (RNC), with a rally and march against torture and the ongoing war in Iraq.

The main organizer of today’s demonstration was Veterans for Peace. Other groups involved included Code Pink, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Women Against Military Madness (WAMM), and the Minnesota War Resisters League.

Many of those participating in the march carried cardboard “tombstones” containing images and names of dead soldiers and/or Iraqi civilian victims of the war. According to the organizers, the purpose of the march was to “unite all who oppose injustice, oppression, and the violence of war in a way that is powerful and practical enough to win over the uninformed, the indifferent and, possibly, even many of those who are currently allied with the perpetrators.”

Above and below: A number of parents of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq participated in the rally and march. I found their presence and witness against the war to be very powerful.

Above: Another powerful presence was of those dressed in the orange jump suits and black hoods of “detainees” at U.S. facilities like Guantánamo Bay – facilities that have been known to use torture.

Above: Kathy Kelly of Voices for Creative Nonviolence.

As I noted in a
previous post, Kathy and a number of other peace advocates arrived for this week’s various RNC protest events after walking from Chicago to St. Paul as part of Witness Against War 2008.

Above: Members of Code Pink.

Above: “Death” holds the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq.

The march began on the grounds of the Minnesota State Capitol and its route took it as close as was permitted by police to the Excel Energy Center where the RNC is being held. Nine people chose to be arrested by peacefully trespassing into an area forbidden by law enforcement. They were issued citations and released.

Above: My friend Betty McKenzie shortly before her arrest earlier today. (Photo by Jim Gehrz of the Star Tribune.)

Approximately 500 people participated in today’s march and rally. Many more are expected for the main RNC protest event being organized tomorrow by the Coalition to March on the RNC/Stop the War.

For information about tomorrow’s march and rally, click here.

Images 1-9: Michael J. Bayly.
Image 10: Jim Gehrz.

Recommended Off-site Links:
The Anatomy of a March: Veterans for Peace Event Ends in Arrests - Jeff Steven Guntzel,, August 31, 2008.
Vietnam Veterans for Peace Demonstrate Against Fellow Vet John McCain - Democracy Now!, September 1, 2008.

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Walking for Peace, Witnessing Against War
Walking Against Weapons
Fasting, Praying, and Walking for Immigration Reform
General Strike for Peace
An Unholy Alliance in Iraq
Let’s Also Honor the “Expendables.”
A Reign of Ignorance and Fear in the U.S.
John Pilger on Resisting Empire
What the Republican Leadership and the Catholic Hierarchy Have in Common
In Search of a “Global Ethnic”

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