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Hundreds March Against War in Duluth

Over 250 people marched through downtown Duluth, Minnesota on Sunday.
Protesters called on Congress to stop funding the war in Iraq and
bring the troops home now.

People attending the protest came from all age groups and all walks of
life. Chants of “Support the troops, bring them home!” and “What do we
want? Peace! When do we want it? Now!” rang out on Superior Street, as
spirited marchers made their way from the Minnesota Power Plaza to the
Civic Center. Protesters rallied there and were addressed by several
fiery speakers. The rally was MC’d by Carl Sack of the Northland
Anti-War Coalition.

The first speaker, Iraqi-American Dr. Sabah Alwan, graphically
outlined the damage that has been done to Iraq, “a beautiful country,”
he said. He drove home how much the U.S. occupation of Iraq has
contributed to recruitment of anti-American fighters throughout the
Islamic world.

City Councilor Russ Stewart next spoke about the anti-war resolution
recently passed by a 6-2 vote in Duluth City Council. He attributed
the victory for anti-war activists to grassroots efforts and their
willingness to work with elected officials such as himself. He noted
the commitment people have to ending the war, and surveyed the crowd
to show that many participants had also protested against the invasion
four years ago.

Local artist Dave Hopkins gave the rally flavor and kept participants
upbeat by leading the crowd in some musical chanting.

The next speaker was Melissa Helman, a junior at Northland College who
was arrested for trespassing onto Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia
during a protest against the U.S. Army School of the Americas. She
spoke about the connections between the war and U.S. foreign policy,
which has affected Latin America as well. She told those gathered to
work for social justice and against U.S. interference in other
countries throughout the world.

Local peace and social justice activist Michelle Naar-Obed addressed
the crowd with information about the current spending bill going
through Congress. She told protesters that the current supplemental
budget bill, sponsored by Rep. Dave Obey, should be voted down because
stopping the war requires that no more money be allocated for it. The
Lee Amendment, which would require the money to only be used to bring
the troops home, had a very slim chance of passing if the bill passed,
she said. She noted that Rep. Jim Oberstar, who represents Duluth, has
not given a definite answer which way he will vote, but told her by
phone that he is “against funding the war.”

The final speaker was Mike Rogge, a member of Socialist Action. He
gave a rousing speech calling for an end to U.S. imperialism.

The rally ended with the traditional “We’ll Be Back!” clap chant.
Indeed, participants seemed to leave the rally in the mood to act.

The event was widely covered by the local media. TV Channel 10,
Channel 6 and Channel 3 all covered the rally prominently in their
Sunday evening news programs. The Duluth News Tribune ran a prominent
article in the March 19 edition of their paper. There were also
reporters at the rally from the Labor World, Socialist Action and the
Hillsider newspapers.

No counter-protesters were sighted.

The march and rally was sponsored by the Northland Anti-War Coalition
and endorsed by Progressive Action, Duluth Area Green Party, Socialist
Action, Veterans for Peace, Grandmothers for Peace, UMD Students for
Peace, UWS Students Against War, Grandmothers for Peace, Peace North
and Northland College NAWC. Information about upcoming anti-war and
progressive events in the region can be found at


You know, when I consider the abysmal failure of our foreign policy under the Bush/Cheney/Rove regime, I'd much rather be accused of being a scary left-wing nut-job than a dangerous right-wing nut-job. I'm just sorry my kids and I couldn't have been there.

I'm thinking my Easter sermon might be called "Shock and Awe Revisted" or something like that.

Huh-huh. Carl SACK.


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