Rhode Island peace and anti-militarism activists rallied outside Senator Jack Reed‘s downtown Providence office on Friday, before marching to the office of Senator Sheldon Whitehouse in protest of the $768 billion defense budget that is poised to pass the United States Senate before Christmas. The proposed budget is a $27 billion increase from the current year’s military budget.
Activists demanded that Senators Reed and Whitehouse vote against this expenditure and more broadly move to reduce future military authorizations and budgets. The activists noted that this increase in military spending comes at a time when President Biden’s Build Back Better legislation is being reduced and scaled back.
Activists also advocated
- AGAINST the $650 Billion in military weapon sales to Saudi Arabia, a government engaged in war against the Yemeni people;
- FOR Senators Reed and Whitehouse to support and work to ratify the 2021 United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons; and,
- AGAINST the removal of key provisions in the legislation, championed by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (Democrat-New York), “that would have taken commanders out of the decision to prosecute most major crimes.”
The coalition of anti-war Rhode Island groups present at the rally included East Bay Citizens for Peace, No Endless War or Excessive Militarism, Action Corps RI, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Justice Team, Pax Christi RI, RI Anti-war Committee, RI Poor People’s Campaign and more.