On Monday, September 11, 125 people protested against the “war on terror,” and demonstrated an act of international solidarity at Peavey Plaza, in downtown Minneapolis. The demonstration was organized by the Anti-War Committee.
Protesters said that the response to the attacks on 9/11 has cost too much. Jessica Sundin, Anti-War Committee member, explained, “Five years after September 11, 2001, at least 114,000 people have been killed, and 9.6 million people have been made refugees, in the name of fighting terror. The “war on terror” has U.S. troops occupying Iraq and Afghanistan, Israel on the offensive in Lebanon & Palestine, war with Iran is looming, and the Colombian civil war continues to be fueled by US dollars. We need to say no to this state of unending war.”
Protesters also pointed out the costs at home. They were critical of policies such as the USA-PATRIOT Act, which they say racially profiles Arabs, Muslims and other immigrants, who are discriminated against, criminalized, and in at least 83,000 cases, detained. Moreover, demonstrators said the money spent in the war on terror – some $585,600,000,000 – could have been better spent meeting human needs here at home.
Protesters got louder when Minneapolis police threatened to shut down the protest, if demonstrators used “amplified sound.” Palestinian American activist Sabry Wazwaz was joined on the bullhorn by Erika Zurawski of the University of Minnesota Anti-War Organizing League. They energized the crowd with chants of “Who is a terrorist? Bush is a terrorist!” On the five-year anniversary of 9/11, protesters wanted to confront the patriotic fervor that dominated mainstream media, and refused to be silenced in the face of police intimidation.
At the demonstration the impact of the U.S. war on terror was beautifully demonstrated by the Anti-War Committee’s guerilla theater. Actors recreated the U.S. attacks on Iraq and U.S. support for state terror by Israel and Colombia. At the end of the skit military officers and tax payers refused to help George W. Bush lift his bomb and the war on terror was over because Bush could not do it alone. As actor Thistle Parker-Hartog said in the skit, “When soldiers refuse to fight, when tax payers refuse to pay for war, our government cannot continue to terrorize the people of the world. The people of the world are under attack. What do we do? Stand up, fight back!”
Anh Pham spoke at the demonstration and explained what 9-11 should mean, “In the face of this grim reality, the people of Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Colombia and the world continue to resist. We are doing the same. Let’s stand up to reclaim 9/11 and make it a day of international solidarity with the people of the world!”
The Anti-War Committee and other groups are building for the Iraq Peace Action Coalition’s upcoming demonstration on Saturday, September 23rd at noon at Library Plaza at the intersection of Hennepin and Lagoon Avenues in the Uptown neighborhood in Minneapolis. The demonstration will be a part of a national call for action by UFPJ.