PPRC Friday Rally and March Mourns Deaths, Injuries of US War on Iraq, Calls for Immediate Cease Fire, Humanitarian Aid

Event: PPRC Rally and March for Peace
Date: Friday, March 28th, 2003
Time: 5:00 p.m.
Place: Pioneer Courthouse Square

The Portland Peaceful Response Coalition will hold the regular Friday, 5:00 p.m. peace rally and march at Pioneer Courthouse Square, repeating the solemn memorial to the victims of war that set the tone for last Monday's rally and march. "As always, this Friday's rally and march will be peaceful and legal," said Will Seaman, a PPRC volunteer. "We have a permit for a march and we are planning a safe, open and peaceful gathering to dissent from this tragic and criminal war."

PPRC organizers emphasized their respect for other forms of non-violent protest against the war, repeating their view that non-violent forms of civil disobedience have been a legitimate and important part of social justice movements from the struggle women's suffrage to the civil rights movement. "Our peace rallies and marches are intended to be welcoming and safe for all people, for entire families including both children and adults, and for members of the many diverse communities of our city and region," said Mikel Clayhold, another PPRC volunteer. "But we have made a very clear and definitive decision, reaffirmed at our most recent general meeting, to assure that our peace march and rally will be fully legal and safe, and that we will make every effort to ensure that there are no confrontations with police or with folks who may disagree with our struggle for peace."

"We are so profoundly shaken and saddened by the terrible loss of life that we are witnessing in Iraq today," said Clayhold. "We grieve for the families of the dead and for the injured on both sides of this war, and we call for the immediate end to hostilities." Clayhold said that the new recognition by US military commanders that the war would longer than they had expected bodes ill for the Iraqi civilian population. "The longer this war drags out, the longer each Iraqi city is under siege, the more at risk the civilian population will be." Clayhold cited the shortages of clean drinking water that have occurred since the war's beginning. "Children in particular are most vulnerable to disease and death due to waterborne disease," said Clayhold. "And we must not forget that the 'oil for food' ration packages are no longer being delivered to a population that was already on the edge of malnutrition."

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