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Baghdad: demo on 10th anniversary
16 January 2001
US delegation rallies in the streets of Baghdad on ten year anniversary of war on Iraq
The Iraq Sanctions Challenge, a delegation of 50 activists led by former U.S. Attorney General and founder of the International Action Center (IAC) joined a demonstration in downtown Baghdad today marking the 10th anniversary of the U.S.-led war on Iraq.
During the demonstration, the delegation expressed their strong opposition to the sanctions by joining thousands of protesters in chants such as “Down, Down U.S.A” and “Clinton, Albright, You can’t hide, Sanctions Equal Genocide”. The protest began at 2 am, when the US and British bombs were first dropped on sleeping Baghdad ten years ago. Many protesters held torches to illuminate the streets; but they were also used to burn American flags.
The group arrived in Baghdad by air the night of January 13th, acting in defiance of the U.S./UN imposed no-fly zones. They have spent the last three days visiting sites that demonstrate the general consequences of the embargo and have been affected by the frequent bombing of the past ten years. Sites include a bomb shelter, elementary schools, a University, water and sewage treatment plants, and hospitals.
The delegation is delivering over $ 1.5 million in medical and school supplies. Sara Flounders, co-director of IAC, explained, “This is only a drop in the bucket compared to the need created by the sanctions. The donation of these goods is an act of solidarity as was attendance at this demonstration tonight.”
In a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, Ramsey Clark denounced U.S. policy toward Iraq. Clark said: “This is genocide. The progress that Iraq has made must not be lost at 12 noon on January 20th when George Bush is inaugurated. Inspections teams and Oil-for-food program are both frauds from the beginning. There is not justification for the sanctions. They are a war by other means.”
In the next two days the delegation will visit a Pharmaceutical Plant, the Minister of Health, a school for the blind, the Iraqi Women’s Federation, a food distribution center, and a battle ground with known concentration of Depleted Uranium (DU) in its soil, among other places.
On board with the delegation is New Mexican activist Damacio Lopez, who will be collecting soil samples from the DU sites. A storm of protest in Europe has brought to international attention the threat to soldiers and civilians from pollution by radioactive and toxic DU shells. Years before the U.S. used DU in Yugoslavia, they used it in Iraq. While the rest of the delegation will be returning to the States, Lopez will take the soil samples to Europe for analysis, since the United States has refused to do the study.
International Action Center