Minneapolis peace and anti-war groups held a march and rally on Saturday, March 18, to mark 14 years since the U.S. invasion of Iraq with a call for an end to U.S. military intervention.
The protest was organized under the call of “Stop Endless U.S. Wars!”
At least 150 people gathered at Cedar and 3rd Street on the West Bank in Minneapolis. There was a march through the neighborhood that ended at the starting point.
“Hey hey, ho ho, endless war has got to go,” was among the chants at the protest.
People driving by honked their horns in solidarity. People came out of shops and restaurants to wave at the protest.
In addition to marking the anniversary of the Iraq invasion, the event spoke out against the escalation of war planning by the Trump Administration. Trump has plans, and has taken steps, to dramatically increase the level of U.S. military intervention in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Korea and elsewhere.
The announcement for the event said, “Stop Endless U.S. Wars—Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Pakistan; From Iraq to Standing Rock—NO more oil wars!; Say NO to new U.S. war threats—Iran, Korea … & everywhere!; NO bans—NO walls— NO wars!; Say NO to racism & Islamophobia; Funds for human needs, not war.”
Sarah Martin, a member of Women Against Military Madness, made opening remarks at the event: “We march today to say no to endless war, all who are opposed to these endless series of wars must speak out and be in the streets.”
Martin also said, “The Trump administration is asking for a huge increase in the Pentagon budget, while needed services such as the EPA and Meals on Wheels will face budget cuts. We need funds for human needs and to protect the environment, not more wars and interventions.”
The protest was organized by the Minnesota Peace Action Coalition.
A statement issued by organizers says, in part, “March 2017 will mark 14 years since the U.S. invasion of Iraq. After years of endless war, Trump wants a massive increase in the Pentagon budget and is moving to escalate the multiple wars and interventions. We say enough!”
The statement goes on to say, “The U.S. is very much at war today. With troops, air strikes, drone attacks underway in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen and more countries. In addition, the Trump administration has threatened military action in Iran and Korea.
“U.S. intervention will do nothing to fight terrorism. U.S. wars, air strikes and drone attacks are terrorism. The U.S. war machine does not intervene to protect people or to fight terrorism, but to serve U.S. economic interests. The peoples of the Middle East must be able to set their own course and future without U.S. intervention,” the statement concludes.
A wide range of organizations endorsed the protest and helped to get the word out for people to oppose the wars.
Among the endorsing groups was AFSCME Local 3800, representing workers at the University of Minnesota.
Workday Minnesota, an online news service covering the Minnesota labor movement, carried an article on the AFSCME Local 3800 endorsement.
Cherrene Horazuk, president of AFSCME Local 3800, said in the Workday Minnesota article, “The endless series of wars and interventions being waged by the U.S. are not in the interests of working people. These wars are costing billions of dollars and causing death and destruction across the Middle East and beyond. Working people need a peace economy, not endless war.”