"Stop the Machine" protest merges with Occupy Tampa for rally against wars listen10/07/11 Josh Holton
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Friday marks the 10th anniversary of the War in Afghanistan. Thursday protesters marched on Washington D.C. in protest of American militarism. Several local peace groups marched on Tampaâ€™s federal courthouse in solidarity with the D.C. rally.
After the 2001 attacks on the twin towers, the US invaded Afghanistan, ostensibly retaliating against some of the attackers. But the war has cost trillions of dollars, and has cost hundreds of thousands of lives. Chawki Irving was one of about 20 protesters standing on Florida Avenue near the beginning of the protest. He held a sign that said every force thatâ€™s entered Afghanistan has left in defeat.
John Arnaldi is a Quaker, and his sign asked â€œJesus Prince of Peaceâ€ to stop the war.
One of the most controversial byproducts of the Afghan war has been the perception that Islam influences jihadists to attack Americans. Marianne Huber said that Americans should also stop attacking Muslim nations.
Not all the protesters were only concerned about Afghanistan. Fawzi Elmohd is originally from Palestine, and decried the way the Israeli military has attacked Palestinians. But he mainly wanted to point out how many innocent children have died as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Haven Whiteside was born in the depression, grew up during World War II, enlisted in Korea, but then protested the Vietnam War.
The National Priorities Project estimates 400 billion dollars have been spent on the war in Afghanistan. Justin Mortenson said that while many protest movements draw attention to the economy, war is at the centerpiece of economic issues.
At the same time as the anti-war rally, Occupy Tampa was holding its third and largest protest at Gaslight Park. About 600 of the protesters who say they represent the 99% of Americans who arenâ€™t super-rich marched three blocks to the federal courthouse to join the anti-war rally. Afterwards, back at the square, Occupy Tampa held a general assembly. Angela Hadley, with their legal team, suggested that the group not hold a rally on Saturday nor risk arrest by camping out last night.
The general assembly agreed not to rally in the park on Saturday, when police will hold a fundraiser for fallen officers. Although they did agreed to protest today.
Attorney Rugh Kline is with the Occupy Tampa legal team, and expected that police would arrest anyone in the park after dark last night, but by night fall, the assembly continued undisturbed in the park.
Most demonstrators left about ten minutes later. Several police officers have shown their support for the protesters, and one protester appreciated the mutual respect.
Occupy Tampa will meet for the fifth time at Gaslight Park at 11 Sunday morning.