Thursday, March 19, 2009

Iraq War Veterans Drop Banner

Iraq War veterans carried out a dramatic banner drop at the headquarters of the Veterans Administration in Washington, D.C., on the 6th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.

A U.S. Army National Guard veteran scaled the facade of the VA building and dropped a 25 foot-long, 6 foot-high banner that read "Veterans Say No to War and Occupation, March 21st - March on the Pentagon." He was handcuffed and detained.

The dramatic banner drop was carried out in front of a well-attended press conference organized by the Veterans and Service Members Task Force of the ANSWER Coalition.

"This is the beginning of three days of sustained activities timed to coincide with the sixth anniversary of the illegal invasion of Iraq. On Saturday, March 21st, veterans and service members will be the lead contingent in the National March on the Pentagon," stated James Circello, an Iraq War veteran and a spokesperson for the group.

Other speakers at the press conference included representatives from Iraq Veterans Against the War. Also present were delegations from Veterans for Peace and Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

Eric Murillo, a U.S. Army veteran from El Paso, Texas, decried, "Military recruiters are targetting young people in Latino communities. Our communities face high unemployment and young people are struggling to be able to pay the tuition costs necessary to go to school. The recruiters are offering the promise of citizenship to immigrant youth. This is the most cynical manipulation by the Pentagon. Our young people need real jobs. We need affordable education and immigrants need full legal rights."

Similar actions were organized today in cities throughout the country by the Veterans and Service Members Task Force of the ANSWER Coalition.

More than 1,200 organizations are co-sponsoring the protests set for Saturday, March 21st in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and San Francisco. The demonstration in Washington, D.C., will begin at 12:00 noon at 23rd St. and Constitution Ave. NW. The demonstration will march to the Pentagon, and then on to the headquarters of Boeing, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and KBR (the former Halliburton subsidiary), located in Crystal City, Virginia. The marchers will carry hundreds of flag-draped coffins representing the multinational victims of the U.S. war drive.

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