U.S. Citizens for Peace & Justice - Rome Italy anti-war demonstration in Rome

Past Events


Solidarity with Bradley Manning
December 17, 2011

No to "war as usual"
March 19, 2010

Winter Soldier Europe
March 14, 2009

Palestinian Flags Flutter
Alongside Peace Banners

January 17, 2009

Close Guantanamo Now!
January 17, 1009

10-Day Vigil for Gaza
January 8-18, 2009

Supporting La'Onf
October 29, 2008

Free the Cuban 5
Sept 13, 2008

Cheney in Chains
Sept 8, 2008

No Bush, No War
June 11, 2008

May Day ILWU Solidarity Action
May 1, 2008

War Tax Day
April 15, 2008

World Social Forum Global Day of Action
Jan 26, 2008

Shut Down Guantánamo Now!
Jan 11, 2008

No U.S. Military Base in Vicenza
Dec 15, 2007

Meeting Iranian Artists
Dec 05, 2007

End the War in Iraq, No War on Iran
Oct 27, 2007

Report on Final Days of No Dal Molin Festival in Vicenza, Italy
Sept 16, 2007

Camping for Peace in Vicenza, Italy
Sept 12, 2007

Impeach Them Both +
Judiciary Fax Blast

July 23, 2007

I-M-P-E-A-C-H !
April 28, 2007

4th Anniversary of the Invasion of Iraq
March 20, 2007

No Dal Molin, Vicenza, Italy
Feb 17, 2007

Congress: Act Now to End the War
Jan 27, 2007

No Military Bases, Vicenza, Italy
Dec 2, 2006

No War, No Cluster Bombs
Sept 23, 2006

Protest Calling for Cease-fire in Lebanon
July 26, 2006

Military Spending
Bean Poll

July 18, 2006

Stop the Escalation
in the Middle East

July 17, 2006

Refusing to Kill
July 06, 2006

Shailja Patel:
Poetry in Times
of War

July 05, 2006

Troops Home Fast
July 04, 2006

Italian Vote on
Military Missions

June 27, 2006

Peace Parade
June 02, 2006

Michael Uhl of
Veterans for Peace

April 29, 2006

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series
Hidden in Plain Sight

April 26, 2006

War Tax Day
April 15, 2006

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series
Hotel Palestine: Killing the Witness

April 12, 2006

National Anti-war Protest in Rome
March 18, 2006

Soldiers Against War
March 18, 2006

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series
Aristide and the Endless Revolution

March 15, 2006

Women (and men!) Say No To War
March 8, 2006

An Eyewitness Account of Post Katrina New Orleans
March 2, 2006

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series
Life and Debt

February 09, 2006

Vote to Renew Italian Mission in Iraq
February 09, 2006

Cindy Sheehan
February 06, 2006

NBC Today
Show Blitz

February 06, 2006

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series
The Revolution Will
Not Be Televised

January 26, 2006

Cindy Sheehan
In Rome

January 18, 2006

Crimes & Lies:
with Dave Lindorff
and Maurizio Torrealta

January 13, 2006

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series
Peace Propaganda and
the Promised Land

January 12, 2006

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series
The Oil Factor

December 15, 2005

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series
Plan Colombia

December 01, 2005

Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre
November 30, 2005

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series
Wal-Mart

November 17, 2005

Protest at U.S. Embassy: White Phosphorus in Fallujah
November 14, 2005

Control Arms Petition
at Piazza Chiesa Nuova

November 12, 2005

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series
Invisible Ballots

November 10, 2005

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series
The Corporation

October 27, 2005

Movie Night:
Viva Zapatero

October 25, 2005

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series
Hidden Wars of
Desert Storm

October 13, 2005

Anti-war rally
at U.S. Embassy

Sept 24, 2005

USC4P&J Social
at the Beehive

June 22, 2005

Die-In with
Articolo 11
at Palazzo Chigi

June 21, 2005

Collecting Photos
with Control Arms

June 18, 2005

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series
Unconstitutional

June 16, 2005

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series
Outfoxed

June 09, 2005

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series
Weapons of
Mass Deception

May 19, 2005

Vigil at Palazzo Chigi with Articolo 11
May 05, 2005

Vigil at Palazzo Chigi with Articolo 11
April 28, 2005

Vigil at Palazzo Chigi with Articolo 11
April 21, 2005

International Day of Protest
March 19, 2005

Protesters in Rome and in six U.S. cities say NO to “war as usual”

On March 19th, 2010, the seventh anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, USC4P&J organized a sit-in outside the Italian Parliament in Piazza Montecitorio, together with several Italian anti-war groups and two Italian political parties, to call for a withdrawal of all occupying troops from Afghanistan and Iraq as well as an end to all other illegal military occupations in the world, particularly the illegal Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories.

The sit-in was held in solidarity with similar “Troops Home Now!” demonstrations taking place the following day, March 20th, in Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and elsewhere in the U.S. These events marked what many activists felt to be a long-overdue revival of the peace movement, lulled into months of apathy by President Obama's promise of a radical change in foreign policy.

The Rome demonstrators (just as, the following day, their counterparts in Washington, D.C) stood beside ‘coffins' symbolizing the senseless killing of soldiers and civilians in the various war zones, and held signs giving the statistics of the casualties. Other signs documented the skyrocketing public debt in the U.S. and in Italy due to war.

Speakers from USC4P&J and the Italian groups called for an end to Israeli ethnic cleansing in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, plus an end to the siege of Gaza and to the “hidden wars” in Kosovo and in Turkish Kurdistan (a group of Kurdish activists were present with their colorful flags). Thanks to a VOIP connection and the amplification system furnished by a local radio station, the crowd of some eighty protesters heard a brief conversation with Stephanie Westbrook, one of our group's co-founders, who spoke from the John Yoo protest going on in Charlottesville, Va., and a longer conversation with Giorgio Riva, head of a support group for the recently-incarcerated British corporal, Joe Glenton, the first soldier in Europe to refuse to serve in Afghanistan because he judged the war unjust (www.refusingtokill.net).

Though somewhat sparsely attended, the sit-in was eye-catching and effective. Hundreds of bilingual flyers were handed out and there was a high degree of collaboration with the various Italian activist groups in getting our message across. Indeed, the groups have already asked us to schedule a meeting after Easter to plan a follow-up event.

In the U.S., the march on the Capitol boasted a large turnout. Some 10,000 protesters converged on the White House in the biggest peace demonstration since the announcement of the escalation of the Afghanistan war. Contemporaneous demonstrations in San Francisco and Los Angeles drew 5,000 and 3,000 people respectively. One of the distinctive (and very positive) features of these events was the large turnout from high school students, college students and other young people, including those in the armed forces. The call to protest managed to mobilize a new generation of U.S. activists!

The protests in Washington, D.C., and the West Coast received coverage in the main newspapers of the three cities where they took place. Other newspapers across the country, however, reported either nothing or an AP article which minimized the protests. It played down figures for the larger turnouts and played up the small turnout for the New York sit-in, which was organized at the last moment. In addition many newspapers found space for another AP article on the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, which described a “lack of public interest” in the wars nowadays and a sharp drop in the number of anti-war protesters. The article mentioned the demonstration in downtown Milwaukee, obviously minuscule, but failed to mention the larger marches elsewhere. All this clearly intended to “massage” the facts and portray peace activism as a movement on the wane.

Even more evidently manipulative was the behavior of officials in the cities where protests took place. In Washington, D.C., the Department of Public Works ordered the posters announcing the forthcoming march to be taken down. Since peace groups have few funds for billboards or media advertisements, posters are their principal means of communication and the actions of city officials clearly served to lessen public awareness. In Los Angeles and the Bay Area, police arrested activists for putting up posters outside of paid billboard spaces, charging them with a felony offense and releasing them only on incredibly high bail of $20,000. In San Francisco, the park authorities made activists pay a $12,000 fee to use a public park which, up to then, had been used freely for public events, including demonstrations.

Not to be discouraged, the U.S. peace activists went ahead anyway and held several very successful and well-attended protests.

USC4P&J therefore considers March 20th an important step forward in re-launching the anti-war movement. It is vital that we continue to build on this momentum in the months ahead. We will be counting on you to become more involved in future actions and to speak out against the brutality and senselessness of war – as well as the huge cost, both financially and in human life and dignity.

It is urgent to do so NOW. With the election of Barak Obama, the military-industrial complex has not suddenly reconverted into a green-industrial complex. Recent newspaper reports have given activists reason to worry even more about the Obama administration's foreign policy intentions – in particular the hints that withdrawal from Iraq might be only partial (garrisons of U.S. troops would remain in the Iraqi countryside) and that the programmed withdrawal from Afghanistan could in fact take as long as ten years to complete.

“We cannot accept that people get used to the idea of ‘permanent, preventive wars' and ‘war as a way of procuring resources'”, said one of the bi-lingual handouts distributed at the Rome sit-in. “But if the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq continues to drag on, that is exactly what will happen. This apathy is extremely dangerous because if people get used to ‘war as usual', nothing will stop a future administration from launching other ‘preventive' wars, for example, against Iran, Sudan, Yemen, even Venezuela. That is why we must fight instead – starting NOW – for preventive peace.”

Anna, Becky and Patrick

Photos of the March 19th demonstration in Rome

Photos of the March 20th demonstration in Washington, D.C.

 

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Did someone tell you that U.S. military intervention in Iraq was over? Not true: we're at it again. This time the pretext to drop bombs is "curbing ISIS" (which was created by the U.S. in the first place, to overturn al-Malaki in Iraq and then Assad in Syria, and is now out of hand. Like what happened to "our" creature al Qaeda in Afghanistan). And the death toll continues to rise...
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