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Hundreds and more anti-war activists rallied outside the White House in Washington, DC, on Thursday to demand that the Biden administration stop antagonising Russia, risking war between two nuclear-armed powers.
They chanted ‘no war on Russia’ and ‘disband NATO’. Anti-war protestors carried banners saying the same as tourists visiting the US capital city gathered around and joined the demonstration, which swelled their numbers.
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The rally was called by some of the United States’ most active anti-war groups, including Code Pink, the Black Alliance for Peace, and the Act Now to Stop War Coalition.
‘Have we not learned our lesson from Afghanistan and Iraq?’ asked Olivia DeNucci, a Code Pink member and one of the organizers of the demonstration.
‘I was 11 when the US went into Afghanistan, and 20 years later, we’ve spent $21 trillion on war. Destruction of people, the planet, surveillance of other countries and here at home, disproportionately hurting and harming Black, brown, indigenous, poor and low-income communities.’
‘Just last month, Congress passed a $678 billion military spending bill. Who benefits the most from this? You can’t say it enough: weapons manufacturers, arms dealers, intelligence communities, we can go on and on,’ she said. ‘The Lockheed Martins, financial institutions like Blackrock; Raytheon is already telling its stockholders today, publicly, that this is going to be a ‘banner year.’ Shame!’
Other groups joined, as well. Michael Bearman of the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) told the media: ‘We’re demanding that the US pull all of their weapons from Ukraine, to stop the war provocation, but overall, most importantly, we’re calling for the abolishment and disbandment of NATO.’
‘We say ‘no war with Russia,’ and we say this because we know that Russia’s not the aggressor, and in fact Ukraine is not really the aggressor: it is the US and NATO, which is run by the US and has many junior partners within Europe, who are instigating war with Russia. They do not want Russia to have an independent path of development, they don’t want Russia to have an independent foreign policy,’ he said.
‘Personally, we feel like the war on Russia in Ukraine tends to be a more vital threat to our people because it’ll end up leading, like they said, to Mutually Assured Destruction, where both parties are going to end up being destroyed. And you know, without people to give equal rights to, there’s no point in having equal rights,’ he noted.
Marco, another ERA protester who joined, said: ‘When I heard the rhetoric about a war with Ukraine is going to be an excuse, the same way it was with the Iraq War, that really caught my attention, especially now that we’re learning stuff like that in school and it’s so true, that’s just going to be an excuse to not have to give any social services and to be able to fund the military even more and that’s just disgusting to me.’
The demonstration comes after US President Joe Biden ordered 8,500 troops to be ready for deployment to Eastern Europe in as few as five days if required, although he has said the troops will not be sent to Ukraine itself. The US has garrisons in several nearby states, including Romania, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
On Wednesday, NATO and the US sent Moscow separate responses to a security proposal pitched last month that would address Russia’s core concerns in the region, including limiting the further eastward expansion of NATO to include Ukraine and the potential stationing of offensive NATO weapons in Ukraine.
The US has claimed that Russian troops deployed to southern Russia for drills are a prelude to an invasion of Ukraine, but both Russian and Ukrainian leaders have dismissed the notion, with Moscow asserting its right to send troops anywhere inside its own borders and Kiev urging its allies and citizens alike not to be swept up in panic.
Although NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg suggested establishing or re-establishing several communication lines with Moscow for mutual airing of concerns, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday that the alliance’s response failed to address the main question of NATO’s expansion, refusing to acknowledge ‘the principle that one should not strengthen one’s security at the expense of the security of others.’
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Biden has promised to impose crippling economic sanctions on Russia in the event of an invasion of Ukraine, with Congressional Democrats rushing to pass a bill that would funnel even more weapons shipments to Ukraine, prop up US state-funded media outlets targeting the region, and create a legal imperative to impose the sanctions in question.
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Categories: Current Events