Sunday, March 20, 2011
Albuquerque Marchers Demand End to US Wars: Photos and Video
Note: The sad news is that Rep. Martin Heinrich (D, NM-01) and Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D, NM-03) both voted AGAINST a recent resolution (non-binding) urging President Obama to keep his word and get the troops out of Afghanistan. Congressman Lujan, however, did at least sign onto a letter urging the President to do so.
About three hundred demonstrators against the U.S. wars/occupations in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere turned out on Saturday to march from Central and University in Nob Hill to Albuquerque's Civic Plaza downtown. The protest, one of hundreds held around the country on the 8th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War, was organized by the Answer Coalition, Stop the War Machine and the March 19 Coalition.
The main theme: bring the troops home now. Start using the $2 BILLION a week and more we spend on the wars to create jobs and support community and human needs. The American economy is still suffering from high unemployment rates, sagging worker paychecks and rising food and energy prices. Start dealing with our needs instead of shoveling money to defense contractors, mercenaries and corrupt Afghani and Iraqi officials.
Chanting: occupation has got to go!
Many signs at the march and rally also criticized the U.S. military's severe treatment of 23-year-old Pvt. Bradley Manning, who has been held in solitary confinement at Quantico military prison in Virginia for nearly eight months. Manning is accused of leaking classified military and State Department documents to the whistle-blower site WikiLeaks. Others pressed for unity with union workers in Wisconsin and other states who are being attacked by right-wing governors and legislators.
In Washington DC, more than 100 people were arrested in front of the White House amidst a crowd of about a thousand demanding that President Obama "stop the war, expose the lies and free Bradley Manning." Among those arrested was Daniel Ellsberg, a former Pentagon official whose unprecedented leak of thousands of classified documents -- dubbed the Pentagon Papers -- revealed that top American officials were actively concealing the unwinnable reality of the Vietnam War from the public.
Ironically, the protests took place on the same day U.S. forces working with NATO nations and authorized by the United Nations started bombing Libya's air defenses and other targets. The stated objective is to create a no-fly zone to protect assaults on Libyan rebels who are seeking to oust long-time strongman Moammar Kadafi. According to the LA Times, an official, "who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, said Washington and its allies also were committed to using nonmilitary means to force Kadafi out, including steps intended to cripple the Libyan economy and isolate him diplomatically."
Photos and video by M.E. Broderick.