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End the occupations of Iraq and Palestine

By Monique Dols | May 28, 2004 | Page 11

NEW YORK--A crowd of about 1,000 made up largely of Muslims gathered in Times Square to protest the occupations of Iraq and Palestine. The May 14 protest marked the 56th anniversary of the "Nakba," when Palestinians were originally expelled from their homes in 1948.

The afternoon prayer was followed by a spirited rally that condemned the Israeli assassinations of Palestinian leaders, Bush's support for Ariel Sharon and the intensification of the war on Iraqis and Palestinians.

Many came to show their disgust and anger at the torture and humiliation in Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad. Thikra, a 19-year-old protester, explained that she came to the demonstration "to show that we are here for the Iraqi people."

"The Muslim world is outraged by what has happened. Humiliation and shame is not enough words to explain what they did. It's only a minor fraction of what people feel."

Raleigh, N.C.
About 80 demonstrated against the torture of Iraqi prisoners May 22 at a protest called by the Muslim-American Public Affairs Council. The protesters, most of which were Muslim-American, marched from the Islamic Association of Raleigh to the campus of North Carolina State University.

The demonstration also called for freedom for Palestine, chanting, "Bush, Sharon, you will learn, refugees will return!" Many people in the crowd believed there has been more torture in Iraq than has been reported. "What happened with that small group of soldiers was the tip of the iceberg," said Amr Mohammad.

On May 20, about 150 people attended an emergency protest against the U.S. torture of Iraqis. Students from the University of Chicago organized the demonstration against human rights violations committed by the U.S.

Many protesters made the connection between torture in Iraq and the ongoing cover-up by Chicago officials of police torture of dozens of Black men during the last two decades. The next day, about 100 protesters converged in front of the Israeli consulate to express disgust at the recent upsurge in Israeli terror aimed at Palestinian children, women and men in Gaza.

Providence, R.I.
About 25 people demonstrated in Providence against Israeli war crimes in Rafah May 21. The rally was held in front of the Federal Building downtown and included activists from across Rhode Island.

New Haven, Conn.
George W. Bush came here May 23 to attend his daughter's graduation from Yale University. Although Bush's entire trip was planned in secret, activists got wind that Bush was dining with Yale Dean Richard Brodhead.

More than 75 protestors greeted Bush in front of Brodhead's house with banners that read "George W. Bush: Executioner turned torturer" and "End the occupation of Iraq--now!" Two days earlier, nearly 100 people turned out to an emergency demonstration against Israeli atrocities in Rafah.

Burlington, Vt.
More than 60 activists from across the state came out to an emergency demonstration to protest the torture of Iraqi prisoners of war in the Abu Ghraib prison. Members of Veterans for Peace, Military Families Speak Out, the Green Party, American Friends Service Committee, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, the Socialist Workers Party, the Burlington Antiwar Coalition, the International Socialist Organization and other organizations participated in the speakout and march.

"Yes Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush are to blame for this massacre, but I also blame Dick Gephardt, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry who voted for this war," said Jose Davila of the Burlington Antiwar Coalition. In Burlington, like in many cities, there are plans for a large demonstration to coincide with the June 30 "transfer of power" in Iraq.

Ben Lassiter, Nikki Marterre, Raquel Vega, Loretta Capeheart, Shaun Joseph, Naveen Jaganathan and Jim Ramey contributed to this report.

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