PPRC Friday Rally and March to Promote April 12th Peace March, "Stop the Violence Overseas and at Home!"

Event: PPRC Friday Rally and March for Peace
Date: Friday, April 4, 2003
Time: 5:00 p.m.
Place: Pioneer Courthouse Square

"Ideally, we would kill them all, ... But if they choose to change their mind and flee, there's not much we can do." -- Col. Joseph Anderson, brigade commander of the 101st Airborne Division, referring to Iraqi paramilitary fighters loyal to President Saddam Hussein who "had dropped their equipment and fled," ("Muslim Cleric Urges Iraqis Not to Resist", by Reuters, Filed at 2:20p.m. ET, New York Times, April 3, 2003)

The Portland Peaceful Response Coalition regular Friday, 5:00 p.m. peace rally and march at Pioneer Courthouse Square will kick-off a week of community outreach to promote the next coalition peace rally and march, now set for Saturday, April 12th. "As civilian deaths have far surpassed five hundred,1 we once again call for an end to the killing, an end to this criminal war, and we cry out against the current war plans," said Mikel Clayhold, "do not turn Baghdad into the next Stalingrad." Local peace activists expressed concern that US forces risk heavy casualties when the fighting shifts to an urban setting, and warned against vastly increased civilian deaths and injuries with the current and expected increases in US bombing of the besieged city.

"Does another generation of Americans have to learn the lessons of Vietnam once again?" asked Clayhold. "We should recall that US forces controlled Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, at the time of the Tet Offensive." Clayhold referring to an assault on US forces in South Vietnam that many cite as a turning point in the war. "Until Tet, US war planners had been telling the American people that the war was winding down, and that victory was just around the corner," said Clayhold. "Tet demonstrated that the US faced significant, determined opposition, and that the Vietnamese people were able to carry the war deep into US-occupied regions, including the capital city of Saigon." Clayhold emphasized that even if US forces are able to occupy Baghdad with a minimum of casualties on both sides, the occupation itself would pose great dangers to US troops and to US standing in the world. "Thereís no escaping the fact that we are now seen, quite accurately, as a colonial, imperial, military occupation in Iraq," said Clayhold. "We are on a path towards disaster, and we must stop this war now if we are to have any hope of repairing the damage thatís already been done."

The Alliance for Peace and Justice has set April 12th for the next coalition-planned peace rally and march. The April 12th gathering will begin at Waterfront Park at 3:30 p.m.. The march will wind its way through downtown Portland, making stops along the way, ending up at Pioneer Courthouse Square for a 5:00 p.m. rally.
1. www.iraqbodycount.org

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