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Minneapolis protests growing danger of a new cold war and U.S. intervention

By staff

Minneapolis protest demands," U.S. Hands Off Ukraine."

Minneapolis, MN – More than 50 people joined a coalition of Twin Cities peace and anti-war groups, March 15, to speak out against the growing danger of a new cold war with Russia. The protest was organized under the call, “No New Cold War with Russia – U.S. Hands Off Ukraine, Venezuela, Syria & Everywhere – No New U.S. Wars and Interventions – People Need Funds for Housing, Jobs and Education, not the Pentagon!”

A statement issued by organizers says in part, “The Ukraine crisis has the U.S. and NATO issuing threats of sanctions against Russia, we see a build-up of military forces, warships with guided missiles to the Black Sea, F-15 fighter jets being dispatched to Poland. These are dangerous times. For people in the U.S., we must always remember, the U.S. government does not intervene for justice or democracy, but to uphold the interests of the 1%. A new set of wars, or a new cold war with Russia, will not benefit anyone but the corporations and the defense contractors.”

Holding signs and banners at the very busy intersection of Cedar Avenue and 3rd South Street on the West Bank in Minneapolis, participants chanted and listened to speakers.

Alan Dale, of the Minnesota Peace Action Coalition, opened the rally and then introduced Marie Braun, of the Twin Cities Peace Campaign and Women Against Military Madness. She said, “Americans came out in force against missile attacks in Syria. Hopefully, Americans will understand that a new cold war is not in their interest. A new cold war will primarily benefit corporations and defense contractors, and that is not the 99%.”

Meredith Aby, of the MN Anti-War Committee, said, “I find the Obama administration’s recent expressions of concern for the right to dissent in other countries to be particularly outrageous while anti-war activists like myself are under federal investigation in this country for organizing peace protests and solidarity with Colombia and Palestine. Democracy, free speech, human rights – these are excuses given by the U.S. government to persuade the public to support their wars.”

Aby also said, “It is important that we are here today to say no to the Obama administration’s efforts to delegitimize Venezuela’s democratically elected government. We must oppose the $5 million in the 2014 U.S. federal budget and the hundreds of millions of dollars the U.S. has spent over the past fifteen years funding opposition activities inside Venezuela.”

The crowd was roused as Braun and Aby each challenged the hypocrisy of the recent statement by Secretary of State John Kerry, “You just don't in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pretext.” They recalled U.S. invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. role in Libya, and its threats to bomb Syria and attack Iran.

Other speakers included Dave Logsdon, Vice President of Veterans for Peace Chapter 27, and Cherrene Horazuk, president of AFSCME Local 3800. Horazuk recently returned from observing elections in El Salvador. Warning against right-wing threats against the newly-elected government of Salvador Sánchez Cerén, she compared these efforts them to the US-backed protests by the elite in Venezuela.

The Saturday protest was endorsed by MN Anti-War Committee, Mayday Books, MN Peace Action Coalition, Twin Cities Peace Campaign, Veterans for Peace Chapter 27 and Women Against Military Madness. The Minneapolis protest is one of a series of local anti-war protests being held in cities across the U.S. this weekend initiated by the International Action Center.

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