Protesters: Biden, Ceasefire now!
Thousands Converge on DC to Stop US-Russia Proxy War in Ukraine
On Saturday, March 18th, the 20th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq, thousands of anti-war demonstrators marched on the White House to say “Fund People’s Needs, Not the War Machine” in opposition to US military funding of the war in Ukraine. The day of protest and education was organized by the ANSWER Coalition, CODEPINK, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, the United National Antiwar Coalition, and The People’s Forum.
Eugene Puryear, host of Breakthrough News, told the crowd US militarism was robbing the people of the United States of billions needed to fund urgent needs at home.
Brian Becker, National Director of the ANSWER Coalition, called out corporate media for manufacturing consent for endless war .
Becker said the Pentagon’s pursuit of endless war in Ukraine was in preparation for a war with China, calling such preparation pure madness and predicting that one day the world would be “free and independent from the (US) empire.”
In addition to calling on President Biden to support a ceasefire in Ukraine, protesters issued the following demands: “Peace in Ukraine-Negotiations, Not Escalation; Abolish NATO; End US militarism & sanctions; No war with China; End U.S. aid to racist apartheid Israel; US hands off Haiti; End Africom; Free all political prisoners.” The demands were endorsed by dozens of other organizations, including the Peace in Ukraine Coalition representing over 100 national organizations, the Palestinian Youth Movement, Veterans for Peace, Black Alliance for Peace, World Beyond War and the Democratic Socialists of America-International Committee.
Some of the protesters came by bus, others by plane from Los Angeles, Miami, Detroit, North Carolina and Atlanta.
On the heels of the International Criminal Court issuing an arrest warrant for Russia’s Vladimir Putin for war crimes in Ukraine, Margaret Kimberly, a leader of UNAC, told the White House crowd that arrest warrants were in order for a number of US war criminals.
Kimberly also called on the crowd to stop COP City in reference to the City of Atlanta’s planned forest destruction to build the largest US urban laboratory for police training where, in the words of forest defenders, “police will learn military-like maneuvers to kill black people.”
A Veterans for Peace contingent joined with other anti-war vets to oppose more weapons for the war in Ukraine. Al Jazeera interviewed VFP’s Ellen Barfield, Gerry Condon and others who denounced the glorification of war.
Following the White House event, protesters marched to the Washington Post to protest what they described as the newspaper’s stenography for the Pentagon. Demonstrators challenged congressional and White House approval of more than $110 billion for Ukraine, an estimated half for weapons and military training.
From there, the crowd gathered at a nearby church for a teach-in on the war that explored US-backed NATO expansion that encircled Russia with a hostile military alliance following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.
In addition to Becker and Kimberly, Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CODEPINK, raised critical questions captured in a tweet by the Party for Socialism and Liberation.
Saturday’s White House and Washington Post protest was part of day-long national anti-war events, featuring other protests in San Francisco, Seattle, Milwaukee, Chicago, Phoenix, Albuquerque and Los Angeles, where a diverse crowd — young, old and in between — demonstrated in front of the towering CNN building in Hollywood to denounce the network’s manufacture of consent for US funding of war in Ukraine, a war protesters said risks nuclear annihilation of most life on earth.
At CNN’s Los Angeles protest Wei Yu, organizer of CODEPINK’s “China is Not our Enemy Campaign” said it was time President Biden understood the connection between gun violence he decries in her home town of Monterrey Park and the violence he perpetrates abroad.
LA protesters, including this writer, taped a letter to CNN’s locked glass door, requesting the network “feature guests and publish opinion articles in support of a ceasefire and negotiated peace to end the war in Ukraine.”
From as far away as San Jose, Costa Rica, the Quaker Peace Center and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Costa Rica) denounced the military industrial complex and corporate media for their role “in promoting the war to the loss of further innocent lives” and called for immediate de-escalation of the fighting in Ukraine.”
Following a weekend of anti-war protests, the Biden administration announced it would again reject calls for a ceasefire in Ukraine.
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Marcy Winograd serves as the Co-Chair of the Peace in Ukraine Coalition and Coordinator of CODEPINK Congress. She participated in the Los Angeles protest of CNN’s news coverage of the war in Ukraine.