Hundreds protest war in downtown Minneapolis
By Amy Mayron
St Paul Pioneer Press, Dec. 10, 2002
About 200 people in downtown Minneapolis joined a national day of protest Tuesday against a war with Iraq by chanting at rush hour traffic, carrying signs and performing a dramatic skit about the rubble and bodies left behind after bombings.
"We're sick and tired of putting up with Bush and his lies," Erika Zurawski shouted into a microphone to rouse the crowd at the federal court plaza across from City Hall. "So today we're going to say 'no' to his lies; 'no' to the killing of innocent people."
The group United for Peace counted more than 120 planned vigils, acts of civil disobedience and marches in 37 states from Alaska to Florida. Protests were organized by fax and over the Internet by anarchists and Communists, evangelicals and Quakers.
In Minneapolis, protesters carried a giant banner that read, "WAR WON'T MAKE YOU SAFE," and individuals carried signs saying "No War for Profit" and "Drop food, not bombs." They chanted "Hell no. We won't go. We won't fight for Texaco."
People dumped buckets of broken cement, ripped dolls covered in red paint and general trash on the courthouse plaza to represent the rubble in Iraq after past bombings. Two men painted fake blood on their faces and lay on the ground next to the rubble.
"I traveled to Iraq," said Jess Sundin of the Anti-war Committee of Minneapolis. "The small pile of rubble does bring to mind what I saw in Iraq. The amount of devastation made my heart sick."
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak went through the crowd shaking hands and thanking people for speaking out on such an important issue. Other speakers spoke out against the use of Puerto Rico as a prewar practice ground and announced that activists at the University of Minnesota were planning a walkout for the first day of bombings.
"We have no business over there in Iraq," said Trishalla Bell of the Welfare Rights Committee in Minneapolis. "Our country has the worst history of destroying families and it has to stop."
Elsewhere, about 200 people protested outside the U.S. mission to the United Nations in New York, 300 protesters staged a march to a park near the White House and 100 entertainers in Los Angeles signed a letter to President Bush saying a war with Iraq would "increase the likelihood of terrorist attacks, damage the economy and undermine our moral standing in the world."
While a recent USA/CNN/Gallup Poll found a majority of Americans support sending ground troops to remove the Iraqi president, the percentage opposed has nearly doubled to 37 percent since a year ago.
The Associated Press contributed to this report