Twin Cities protest says: ‘No U.S. intervention in Mali’
St. Paul, MN – With the wind chill at 15 degrees below zero, about 30 peace and justice activists gathered here, Jan. 23. Their slogan, “No U.S. Drones in Mali, No U.S. intervention in Mali” was the week’s theme of the Peace Vigil that happens every Wednesday on the Lake Street/Marshall Avenue Bridge across the Mississippi River between Minneapolis and Saint Paul.
“U.S. and western intervention, including drone strikes, will not lead to peace In Mali,” said Sarah Martin of Women Against Military Madness.
Marie Braun, an activist with Women Against Military Madness and the Twin Cities Peace Campaign, explained the reason for the protest in her speech at the bridge: “We are focusing on Mali today because of our government’s decision to support the French military action in Mali by providing them with surveillance and other intelligence, transport troops and military equipment, and possibly aerial refueling and drones.”
Drones are a growing part of U.S. intervention around the world. The U.S. has carried out extensive drone attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen, leading to many civilian deaths.
Braun went on to explain, “And again as usual, this intervention on the part of the French and the U.S. is about resources. North Africa and West Africa and its valuable resources are going to be the focus of the U.S. government for many years to come. U.S. Africa Command, AFRICOM – set up in 2007 – has already turned Africa into a web of U.S. bases and other operations with approximately 5000 U.S. military and Department of Defense personnel working across the continent at any one time. It is important to also understand the situations in both Mali and Algeria are about blowback – at least in part, the consequences of the U.S. bombing and policy of regime change in Libya. Military attacks and military interventions always lead to terrible consequences…death, destruction, hundreds of thousands of refugees and extreme suffering on the part of the people. Military action was not the answer in Iraq or Afghanistan, and it is not the answer in Mali or any other country.”
The event was organized by Women Against Military Madness and the Twin Cities Peace Campaign. The Anti-War Committee, Minnesota Peace Action Coalition, Occupy the Hood, Veterans for Peace and others co-sponsored the action.