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Students hold antiwar civil disobedience demonstration in DC on 5th anniversary of iraq invasion

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MATTHEW PALEVSKY, TRNN JOURNALIST: The fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq. Nearly 4,000 US troops have died. Over 4.5 million people have been displaced within Iraq. Behind me, mostly students of a group called Students for a Democratic Society, famed for their protests during the Vietnam War have gathered not for a full march but for civil disobedience. They’re going from site to site to Bechtel, to companies that were responsible for rebuilding Iraq but that they believe kept the money instead.


PALEVSKY: What’s the point behind this process?

WOMAN: To commemorate the fifth anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq and disrupt those promoting and profiting from war.

PALEVSKY: Who are you disrupting?

WOMAN: All the oil profiteers, oil companies, military recruiters, and lobbyists on K Street.

PALEVSKY: Like who? Give us an example.

WOMAN: Bechtel, Lockheed Martin, Parsons Corporation, all of whom have *massive military contracts in Iraq.

PALEVSKY: *We’ve seen people throw paint at security guards. We’ve seen them rush policemen. Why isn’t this a peaceful process?

WOMAN: It is peaceful. We have not done any violence to any person.


MAN: Today, the fifth anniversary, for me marks a tragic occasion. It’s five years of illegal occupation, of immoral war, of death and destruction. And it’s in my name as a citizen of the United States. But I’m here because in K Street area and all throughout downtown DC, there are many companies, such as Bechtel and Halliburton and United Technologies Corporation and Exxon and Shell and Chevron. And for these companies, the Iraq war has been five years of record profits, and that disparity speaks for itself.


PALEVSKY: I’m at the middle of an intersection. K Street, 17th, and Connecticut all merge here. It’s one of the biggest intersections in DC. And over 200 protesters have put themselves in the middle of it, and about a dozen of them have chained themselves to school desks. They’re chanting things like, “Not for war and occupation, money for jobs and education.” The people chaining themselves to desks are members of Students for a Democratic Society, and they’ve literally blocked off the entire intersection, and there’s no way to get them out of here. The cops have said they will not arrest anyone today.


PALEVSKY: What do you think of this protest?


PALEVSKY: What do you think of this protest?

MAN IN BUS: I love it.


MAN IN BUS: I love it ’cause it’s right.


MAN: I think it’s a great idea just to finish up the war. That’s all I can say to you.

PALEVSKY: They’re disrupting the streets. People can’t drive through here. They’ve been throwing paint at security guards. Do you think that’s the tactics that are necessary?

MAN: Well, they have a reason for doing this, and I guess this is a good way to present this to the United States and the world that war should be stopped at any point.


MAN: Protest is part of being an American. You know. And we need to get out of Iraq. So.


PALEVSKY: We’re at Lockheed Martin, where all the protesters are trying to work their way inside the lobby of the Lockheed Martin building.


SPEAKER: Rebuild roads, water, sanitation, health care, electricity, $2.8 billion. How much have they done?

GROUP: Nothing.

SPEAKER: What has Bechtel done?

GROUP: Nothing.

SPEAKER: They have taken $2.8 billion so that today in Iraq, Iraqi refugees are told by the United Nations to stay away from Iraq because there is no water, electricity, sanitation, health care. Who got the money?


PALEVSKY: It’s the afternoon here in Washington, DC, and people have been protesting all day long. It started with Iraq Veterans Against the War near the White House. What you see behind me is Students for a Democratic Society. People have said that there’s nearly 400 protests throughout the country. And, obviously, people have not been deterred by the rain today. Protesters have told me that they’re not protesting against Democrats or Republicans but against both parties, since there’s no clear plan to get out of Iraq. The question today is: with no clear plan to get out, will we be here again next year?


Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

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