Report by ERIC SHULTZ
Albuquerque activists gathered on Central Avenue this past Saturday August 31 to demonstrate their outrage at the Obama administration plan for military intervention in the Syrian civil war.
The action drew nearly 100 activists who held signs, chanted and spoke out on the busy street with much supportive horn honking from the passing cars. Hear the event’s wide range of speakers by clicking on the audio buttons below (we regret that United Nations Association representative Sally McMillan’s speech was not usable due to bullhorn difficulties). Some clips include introductions by ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition organizer Joel Gallegos.
Bob Anderson, Stop the War Machine (2 min 34 sec):
Charles Powell, Albuquerque Chapter President, Veterans for Peace (3:58):
Lizzie Perkel, Students for Justice in Palestine, UNM Chapter (1:24):
Sayrah Namaste, (Un)occupy Albuquerque (2:27):
Preston Wood, ANSWER Coalition (3:30):
Ellen Robinson, Raging Grannies (00:59):
Bonus track: a mini interview with Charles Powell of Veterans for Peace (5:19):
Just as the protest was starting, Obama addressed the nation with his decision to seek congressional backing for his plan of attack, and various speakers are heard exhorting the public to demand that our representatives oppose the military option.
Building on Saturday’s gathering, an ad hoc coalition including (Un)occupy Albuquerque, Veterans for Peace, the Peace and Justice Center, the ANSWER Coalition, Stop $30 Billion to Israel and Students for Justice in Palestine have filled the week with follow-up actions, including confronting an aide to Senator Martin Heinrich at a union gathering on Labor Day and meeting with Senator Tom Udall’s staff on Wednesday. Today, a delegation will meet with Senator Heinrich’s staff and on Friday, with the staff of Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham. Also on Friday, the ANSWER Coalition has called for a rally at 5:00 pm in front of the UNM Bookstore, 2301 Central Ave NE, Albuquerque (ANSWER Coalition contact: Joel Gallegos, 505-261-6235; additional info at unoccupyabq.org).
As we prepare to post, the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations has just passed (10 to 7) a resolution approving U.S. military action in Syria, with committee member Tom Udall voting against. In a statement, Udall said “I personally have received hundreds of calls and letters from New Mexicans. I’ve talked to scores myself over the last couple of weeks. Over 90 percent of the calls and letters have been opposed to escalating our involvement in Syria. New Mexicans are tired of war. Americans are tired of war. They’re worried about the stress it puts on our economy and our military. They’re worried about the safety of our troops – their husbands, wives, son and daughters.”
In the event the U.S. does attack Syria, protesters will gather at 5:00 pm (on the day of the attack, or the day after if the attack is at night) in front of UNM Bookstore.