Posted by CODEPINK Staff
by Medea Benjamin
We had a spirited anti-war rally in DC today marking the 8th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. CODEPINK had a "pre-rally" rally, with terrific speakers and singers. The speakers included Terry O'Neill, the president of the National Organization for Women; our wonderful Ret. Col. Ann Wright, Carrie Biggs-Adams from the Communications Workers; Empower DC activist Linda Leaks, OneDC housing activist Virginia Lee and visionary activist Caroline Casey. We are also graced by the unbelievably beautiful singing group SongRise. Then we went to the White House to do a photo up with umbrellas that spelled out BRING OUR WAR $$ HOME. Check out some of our photos.
Our "pre-rally" was followed by a great rally organized by Veterans for Peace, with speakers that included Ralph Nader, Daniel Ellsberg and Chris Hedges and reps from Iraq Veterans Against the War and Military Families Speak Out. The Vets then led us on a march down the streets of DC and up to the White House. By the time we marched, there were about 2,000 people. It was very solemn and moving, with a clear message of Stop these Wars, Expose the Lies, Free Bradley Manning. Throughout the day, CODEPINK circulated sign-ups asking people to join us in getting "Bring Our War $$ Home" resolutions passed in their cities, churches, schools, unions, etc.
At 2pm, 113 people engaged in civil disobedience, refusing to leave the area in front of the White House. Among those arrested were Daniel Ellsberg, Ann Wright, Chris Hedges and many CODEPINKers, including Joan Stallard, Nancy Mancias, Janine Bonaparte, Ridgely Fuller, Leslie Harris, Diane Baker, Bev Harris, Lisa Savage, Mark Roman, Jennifer Humiston and Katherine Weathers. They were held for several hours, then released after paying a $100 fine or agreeing to return for a future court date. We thank them for their act of conscience.
The day was marred, however, by the start of the bombing of Libya. While we were calling for an end to wars, American and British ships fired more than 110 Tomahawk missiles. We certainly support the rights of the Libyan people to live under a democratic government, and here in DC we have been joining them every week in their demonstrations at the Libyan Embassy and the White House. In fact, Tighe Barry and I got arrested trying to liberate the Libyan Embassy from the pro-Qaddafi forces. We believe, however, that democracy does not come from foreign missile attacks but from people rising up against their own governments. As part of a national anti-war movement, we continue to say "War is Not the Answer."