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US Anti-war Demonstrators to Continue Protests After War Starts - 2003-03-20


With the war against Iraq near, anti-war activists continue to call for peace, and say they will keep on demonstrating even after the United States launches military action against Iraq.

Kai Newkirk, of the National Youth and Student Peace Coalition, says even if the U.S.-led war goes forward, it will not be with his group's consent.

"We will not relent, and instead we will deepen, expand, and escalate our resistance," he said. "The National Youth and Student Peace Coalition, with our allies throughout this nation, this week, are organizing concerted lobbying, civil disobedience, walk-outs, sit-ins, and other non-violent direct action on campuses and in cities across this nation."

About 40 members of another group, CodePink, painted their hands red and marched in a mock funeral procession to the offices of House of Representaties Minority leader Nancy Pelosi, who supports President Bush's Iraq policies. Spokeswoman Medea Benjamin says the group feels betrayed by the elected members of Congress.

"We are going to Congress today to tell them that the blood of war is on their hands, and that we will hold them responsible for the deaths of innocent Iraqis. We will hold them responsible for the deaths of U.S. service people who should not be put in harm's way for a war we consider unjust, immoral, and illegal, and totally unnecessary," he said.

In front of the Capitol building, a visitor from the mid-western U.S. state of Oklahoma said he does not agree with the protesters. "Clark Williams from Stillwater, Oklahoma, and I support the war effort 100 percent," he said. "I think they [the protesters] are not well-informed."

Mr. Williams says he was still happy to have seen the anti-war procession because that is something he wouldn't have been able to see back home.

Anti-war activists say they are prepared to continue demonstrating against the war for as long as it takes. Reverend Graylan Hagler, with Black Voices for Peace.

"We cannot surrender to what we feel is immoral, unjust. We cannot surrender to that which we feel is wrong," he said.

Reverend Hagler said he always tells his congregation at the Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ that one way to beat your enemy is to outlast him.

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