Activists Make Anti-War Presence Known
On Saturday, November 5th, The Ohio State University student peace-advocacy group AntiWar Columbus, alongside concerned community members, demonstrated in support of troop withdrawal from Iraq at the Gallery Hop in the Short North. Backed by banners with footprints representing the over 2,000 American soldiers killed, the group rallied for two and a half hours, encouraging passerbyâ€™s to take a closer look at the cost of war. Gallery Hop is a night each month that brings thousands of open-minded people to art galleries all through the Short North of Comlumbus.
The demonstration began shortly before 8 p.m. with a press conference and rally at Goodale Park, after which the group occupied both north lanes of Buttles Avenue and marched to the vicinity of Buttles Avenue and High Street.
One of the organizers from AntiWar Columbus had this to say about their message:
â€œWe want to emphasize that this movement is not against the troops or their service, but in support of their well being and also of the well being of the Iraqi citizens. What we protest is the military industrial complex and the governmentâ€™s elected officials which have exploited the courage of the soldiers by waging this illegitimate war.â€?
During the procession on High Street, over 30 demonstrators played drums and held signs promoting a healthy exit from Iraq and a stop to the war there. During the march as well as throughout the night, demonstrators used the bullhorn to tell Gallery Hop attendees about the costs of war. One reminded the bystanders, â€œ2,000 American soldiers, 30,000 Iraqi civilians, how much more are we going to take before we stand up?? It has been two years since Bush proclaimed mission accomplished, but we donâ€™t even have an exit strategy!â€?
After the march, demonstrators unveiled over 200 feet in banner that depicted a footprint, name and age for every soldier who has been killed in Iraq. Many onlookers spent time perusing the banner for names and ages. Most were taken back by the sight of such a huge manifestation of the losses the US has incurred.
This past October marked one of the deadliest months for U.S. forces since the 2003 invasion. The last week of October also marked another grim reminder of the heavy costs for the war in Iraq with over 2,000 service members killed to date. It took 18 months to reach 1,000 dead, but just 14 months to reach 2,000. Itâ€™s been nearly two and a half years since President Bush declared â€œMission Accomplishedâ€? and he still has no exit strategy.
After demonstrating for 2 hours, the banners were rolled away, and the group, now over 40 people strong, proceeded to the southeast corner of the Riverwatch tower on High Street, where they celebrated, danced and cheered; jovial about their cause, and about the growing anti-war movement. The atmosphere was festive, encouraging everyone, including passerby's, to join in, which many did. The response from Gallery Hop attendees was overwhelmingly positive.
The group has had a presence at the last three Gallery Hops, and this memorial and speak-out is one of a series of future planned events by AntiWar Columbus.
Indymedia coverage of AWC at October Gallery Hop can be viewed Here
Footage of the dance protest can be viewed Here
To contact AntiWar Columbus, email: AntiWarColumbus@gmail.com