PPRC Friday Rally and March Calls for End to US Occupation of Iraq

Event: PPRC Friday Rally and March for Peace
Date: Friday, April 18, 2003
Time: 5:00 p.m.
Place: Pioneer Courthouse Square

The Portland Peaceful Response Coalition regular Friday, 5:00 p.m. peace rally and march at Pioneer Courthouse Square will focus on the US occupation of Iraq, the US client state occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, and the Bush Administrationís plans for permanent war.

"Thousands of Iraqis were in the streets of Baghdad today protesting the US occupation of their country," said Chris Roehm, longtime PPRC volunteer and co-MC for the Friday rallies.1 "They may still celebrate the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, but they are also mourning the deaths of their fellow Iraqis and they know full well that Bush ís occupation of Iraq has nothing to do with bringing them democracy, but everything to do with stealing their nationís oil wealth."

Roehm cited the ongoing civilian casualties, many of them children, resulting from cluster bomblets that have been strewn across Iraq by the US invasion force. "While Ali Ismail Abbas has been flown to Kuwait for treatment, there are unknown numbers of children who suffer from horrible injuries far from the view of US television cameras." Abbas, the child whose parents were killed and whose arms were torn off by an American missile strike, has become a symbol of Iraqi civilian casualties. Yet there were at least six children wounded by US cluster bombs just within this last week. There are thousands of such bombs that now lie throughout Baghdad. Ali Mustafa made the near-fatal mistake of picking up one of these brightly colored packets, with the result that his legs will be scarred from the shrapnel, and he has lost his sight permanently.2

"Not a single weapon of mass destruction has been found, the nationís cultural heritage has been looted or destroyed, Iraqi children are being torn to pieces daily by the bombs that weíve littered across their tortured country but the US troops have secured the Ministry of Oil," said Roehm.

The weekly protest will also focus on the US support for Israelís ongoing occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, and on US threats now being directed against Syria and Iran. "The US has again joined its Israeli client state as an illegal and unwanted military occupation, plundering the resources of another people," said Will Seaman, a PPRC volunteer. "More similarities will appear in the coming months."

1. "Baghdad protesters denounce 'occupation'", BBC World Service webpage, 18 April, 2003. 2. "Bombs silent, but the children still suffer", Jonathan Steele, Guardian (UK), April 18, 2003

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