26 Arrested On Obstruction Charges
December 16, 2010
“Stop These Wars”
Organized in solidarity with same day action in Washington DC by San Francisco Veterans For Peace Chapter 69
San Francisco A coalition of Anti-War organizations staged a protest and “die-in” blocking entrances to the San Francisco Federal Building on Market and 7th Streets. For their actions, 26 were charged with obstruction and later released. Veterans For Peace San Francisco led the resistance action in solidarity with a same day National Veterans For Peace action in Washington DC where some protesters chained themselves to the White House fence (see Washington DC below).
In San Francisco anti-war protesters shouted “No business as usual as long as the US continues the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq!” Veterans For Peace member Francis Collins with started the afternoon with a song—”I Ain’t a Marchin’ Anymore” by Phil Ochs. Bill Creighton Veterans For Peace SF Chapter 69 President introduced speaker after speaker starting with Jeff Paterson with Courage to Resist. Paterson called for the release of accused Wikileaker Bradley Manning. Vietnam Vet and Medal of Honor recipient Charley Liteky explained his opposition to US foreign policy as the reason for returning his Medal (read full statement). Parents Paula and Reuben Santos revealed their war story—how their son Reuben “Chip” Santos, an Iraq Vet, suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder eventually took his own life. Other also spoke sharing their stories: Mike Wong Vietnam War resister and Vice-President of Veterans For Peace Chapter 69, Bill Hackwell Answer Coalition member and Veteran, Michael Eisenscher labor mobilizer represented Bay Area Labor Against the War, Reverend Jeremiah Kalendas with the First Unitarian-Universalist Church, Janet Weil Code Pink organizer, Stephanie Tang with World Can’t Wait activist, Judith Mirkinson from Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Richard Sanderell activist with Veterans Speakers Alliance and Fred Norman VFP member read his poetry. Statements were read from Anti-war activists Vietnam Vet Brian Willson and 90-year old World War II Veteran Duncan Murphy. Both men have dedicated their lives to peace and in the past held hunger strikes on the steps of the United States Congressional building. Acknowledgment was given to David Hartsough with the American Friends Service Committee for organizing the afternoon’s event.
In protest of the ongoing US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, participants blocked the entrances to the Federal building and some, in an nonviolent act of civil disobedience, laid down in a spontaneous die-in. VJ Rainbow Puddle‘s “SF Veterans For Peace Block Federal Building” video covered the demonstration.
Washington DC Calling for an “End to these Wars”—a Veterans sponsored coalition marched in the snow to send their message to the White House. Former Vietnam Vet and author of the Pentagon Papers Daniel Ellsberg, Code Pink‘s Medea Benjamin, retired DIA analyst Ray McGovern and author and former NY Times correspondent Chris Hedges were among those who spoke in opposition to the current wars. Some participants chained themselves to the White House fence. Police arrested 130 demonstrators. Check out The Real News‘ YouTube video below on the Washington demonstration