Saturday, March 20, 2010
FIL-AMS JOIN ANTI-WAR PROTESTS
Fil-Ams from as far away as New York joined a large anti-war protest in front of the White House, marking the 7th anniversary of America’s Iraq invasion.
Militant Fil-Ams called for the immediate pull-out of American forces in the Philippines.
Kim Bagliere of the Alliance for Just and Lasting Peace in the Philippines read a statement near the tail-end of a lengthy program at Lafayette Park, fronting the White House.
She echoed the day’s recurring theme that President Obama wasn’t doing enough to deliver on a campaign promise to end the war in Iraq and bring US troops home.
“He is the same as presidents before him, spending our tax dollars on endless wars in the name of national security while people are anything but secure,” said Chevy Evangelista, a spokesman of New York-based Ugnayan ng mga Anak ng Bayan.
Bagliere denounced what she described as the string of broken promises to the Filipino people, including the injustice foisted on thousands of aging Filipino World War II veterans.
The Fil-Am protesters also called for the scrapping of the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement that govern the conduct of American soldiers in yearly joint military exercises in the Philippines.
A broad coalition of anti-war groups joined the protest, championing causes that ranged from the Palestinian conflict to the lingering tensions in the Korean Peninsula.
They assailed President Obama’s decision to send more troops to Afghanistan.
The number of US troops in Afghanistan is expected to exceed 100,000 this year.
The US will reportedly spend $72 billion this year to sustain military operations in
Afghanistan and another $65 billion in Iraq.
The crowd was visibly dominated by young activists but was joined also by American veterans of past and current wars and familiar faces in the anti-war protest scene that included Cindy Sheehan and Ralph Nader.
“Our country will continue to prioritize war at the expense of health, education and job security,” Evangelista explained.
Protesters carried flag-draped symbolic coffins to dramatize the heavy toll of America’s wars.
They marched past the offices of defense contractor Halliburton and investment house Morgan Stanley to highlight the alleged role of big business in promoting wars overseas.
An effigy of former Vice President Dick Cheney was decapitated and trampled by some protesters.
Another group of Fil-Ams joined a similar anti-war protest rally in Los Angeles, California.