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Minneapolis protest demands: Stop U.S. war in Iraq, no U.S. war in Syria

By staff

Tarik Rasouli speaking for the MN Peace Action Coalition

Minneapolis, MN – An anti-war protest was held here, Sept. 20, to speak out against the new U.S. military intervention in Iraq and the threat of more U.S. intervention is Syria.

Over 70 people joined the protest at the very busy intersection of Lake Street and Hiawatha Avenue in Minneapolis; the signs and banners were visible to thousands of people driving, walking and taking the bus and train through the area.

The protest lasted for an hour, with a constant show of support from drivers honking horns and passerby stopping to listen to speakers. Protesters chanted steadily. One chant was, “Out of Iraq! Hands off Syria!”

The Minnesota Peace Action Coalition (MPAC) organized the protest.

Other anti-war protests have been held or are being planned in cities around the U.S. to respond to the most recent U.S. military moves.

Tarik Rasouli, a young Minneapolis resident whose family is from Iraq was among the speakers. Rasouli said, “My father is from Iraq and my mother is from Palestine and I’m sick of seeing my country kill my family members.”

“Ever since I was born, the country I’m from has been at war with the country I was born and raised in.

Iraq vs. the U.S. With Obama’s recent remarks, it’s expanding the bombing attack on Iraq again, I’m afraid my children will share the same sentiment. Why is my home always bombing my motherland?”

Rasouli continued, “Desert Storm 1991, Operation ‘Iraqi Freedom’ 2003, and now we are entering our third gulf war into 2014. America has a bad habit of setting the Iraqi people back ten years, every ten years.”

Rasouli continued, “I’m truly terrified that this ‘war against terror’ – which means anyone that looks like a ‘terrorist,’ which means anyone that’s Arab – has no end.”

Kent Mori, of the Anti-War Committee told the crowd, “ Bombing, sanctions, regime change, occupaton, war. U.S. imperialism is fundamentally vicious, and it will not stop fomenting strife and war until we stop it.”

In calling the protest, MPAC issued a statement that says in part, “The Obama administration and the Pentagon have launched a new round of military intervention in Iraq. This will not end well for the people of Iraq or the people of the U.S.”

“This new intervention is a sequel to decades of U.S. war, sanctions and occupation,” the statement says.

“It was the U.S. invasion and occupation that destroyed Iraq and brought about the current crisis. Nothing the Pentagon does can undo that or bring about peace. The people of Iraq must determine their own future,” the MPAC statement continues.

“Since June of this year, the U.S. has spent $500 million on operations in Iraq. The U.S. has been at war for 13 years. Enough is enough! If we have learned anything, it should be that U.S. intervention, troops, bombs, drones or ‘advisors’ do not bring peace or justice, but only lay the basis for new wars and interventions,” the statement concludes.

Alan Dale, a member of MPAC said, “There is an urgent need for all opposed to new wars to speak out. The government is counting on fear and silence, the only way the war moves can be stopped is by people being in the street saying no to the war moves in Iraq and Syria.”

Other speakers included representatives of Anti-War Committee, Twin Cities Peace Campaign and Women Against Military Madness.

The Saturday protest was initiated by Minnesota Peace Action Coalition and supported by a range of peace and anti-war groups in the Twin Cities area including AFSCME Local 3800, Anti-War Committee, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, May Day Bookstore, Military Families Speak Out (Minnesota chapter), Minnesota Cuba Committee, Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee, St. Joan of Arc/WAMM Peacemakers, St. Paul Eastside Neighbors for Peace, Socialist Action, Twin Cities Peace Campaign, Veterans for Peace, Welfare Rights Committee, Women Against Military Madness and Workers International League.

#MinneapolisMN #AntiwarMovement #Iraq #Syria