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Minneapolis protests says: “Stop the wars – ground the drones”

By staff

May 17 anti-war and anti-drone protest in Minneapolis.

Minneapolis, MN – A highly visible anti-war protest was held in Minneapolis May 17, with over 120 people joining the demonstration.

The protest was called to be part of a national round of local anti-war and anti-drone protests during the months of April and May. The Minnesota Peace Action Coalition (MPAC) initiated planning for the event.

The May 17 protest was organized under the call of 'Stop the wars – Ground the drones', with the additional slogans of: Zero troops in Afghanistan; ground all military and surveillance drones; end drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia; for a full employment peace economy, not more war; no new wars – hot or cold; and U.S. hands off Syria, Ukraine, Korea, Venezuela, Palestine and everywhere.

In the final days before the protest, as the crisis in Ukraine reached a new and dangerous level, the International Action Center, United National Antiwar Coalition and other organizations issued a call for local protests May 9 – 26 against U.S. intervention in Ukraine.

MPAC, which in the initial call for the protest included the anti-intervention demand on Ukraine, endorsed the national call for anti-war actions on Ukraine and listed the May 17 event as one of the actions being held around the country to speak out against the danger of yet another war.

Signs and speakers at the protest spoke to the demand against intervention in Ukraine and against a new cold war with Russia.

The Minneapolis protest gathered at the very busy corner of Hiawatha Avenue and Lake Street. After 45 minutes of holding signs and banners, there was a march to Walker Community Church for an indoor rally.

A statement issued by organizers said in part, “Since 2004, over 2500 people have been killed by U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan. In Afghanistan, drone attacks are increasing and the U.S. government plans to keep thousands of troops and drones in Afghanistan for years to come. U.S. drone strikes are commonplace in Yemen and elsewhere.”

The statement goes on to say, “The endless series of U.S. wars and interventions continues, including increasing military aid, expanding U.S. bases around the world and internal meddling in other countries through economic pressures overseen by agencies such as International Monetary Fund and World Bank.”

At the rally a member of MPAC also warned that the U.S. was preparing military intervention in Nigeria in the name of saving kidnapped schoolgirls.

“The U.S. military does not intervene to help people, the U.S. military intervenes in the interests of corporations and profits, not people,” said the MPAC member.

The planning for the May 17 protest was initiated by MPAC and endorsed by a broad range of organizations, including, AFSCME Local 3800, Alliant Action, Anti-War Committee, Coalition for Palestinian Rights, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Mayday Books, Military Families Speak Out (MN chapter), Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee, Peace and Justice Committee of Sacred Heart Church (St. Paul), Peacemakers of Carondelet Village, PeaceMakers of Macalester Plymouth United Church, St. Joan of Arc Church, Socialist Action, Students for a Democratic Society (UMN), Twin Cities Peace Campaign, Veterans for Peace, Welfare Rights Committee, Women Against Military Madness, Workers International League and others.

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