Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Today's report from Denver is on an action by a group of Iraqi veterans. The veterans are members of Iraqi Veterans Against the War (IVAW) and they are carrying out Operation First Casualty.

With their arms positioned to shoot, the veterans staged a war conflict on the sidewalks of the 16th Street Mall. Police swarmed the area but made no arrests.

"This is what occupation looks like, and America is better than this," one protester member of the Iraq Veterans Against the War shouted reports the Rocky Mountain News. "Bring our troops home now," he said to people dining on the patio of the restaurant Rio Grande.

The march continued downtown as the soldier-actors looked for "suspicious persons" from Tent City.

On Monday the group presented a letter to Sen. Obama calling on him to support the groups three main demands:

1. The immediate withdrawal of all occupying forces from Iraq.
2. Full and adequate health care and benefits to all returning service members and veterans.
3. Reparations made to the Iraqi people for the destruction caused by the U.S. war and occupation.

IVAW has requested a response from Senator Obama by 3pm Wednesday Aug. 27.

Tomorrow the group is sponsoring the Rage Against the Machine concert which will be followed by a four mile march from the concert to the site of the Democratic National Convention.

Meanwhile, according to Dan Spalding of the People's Law Project, fifty to sixty people are currently in detention in the downtown City jail (1331 Cherokee St), and being processed in several different courtrooms.

And this just in from Disruption O8:
"Join Unconventional Denver on Tuesday, August 26th as we take our message of liberation into the streets and to the Pepsi Center. Being that the convention is just a puppet show we seek to actively disrupt the convention’s media coverage through festive celebration of our success of surviving outside an oppressive system and the new world we are building."

This action is formed into two different parts- the snake marches and the blockades. Two snake marches will leave from two locations north and south of the Pepsi Center, making their way through downtown in a raucous, festive manner (bring your noise makers!) to delegate entrances at the Pepsi Center. Should one or both of the marches not reach the security perimeter, the marches will fall back to secondary goals."

...Our hope is that people come prepared not just for confrontation with the state but for a colorful, festive, celebration of our struggle for collective liberation. This hope is not specific just to the Tuesday actions but for the entire week- we aren’t just protesting the Democrats and an oppressive system but striving to show what a new world could look like. We are equal parts love and rage, mixed together in a potent cocktail that provides us the strength to struggle today and the courage to continue tomorrow. Come prepared not just for five days of intense action but for five days of inspiring (to ourselves and others) belief in action.

The following is from the Longmont Times-Call (Colorado).

Staged military exercise shakes up lunchtime in LoDo
By Brad Turner

DENVER — A team of protesters in military fatigues jogged through LoDo at lunchtime Tuesday, barking mock orders at one another and startling onlookers as they re-enacted military operations in Iraq.

"Watch the rooftops! Watch the windows!" one soldier called to the other members of Iraq Veterans Against the War as they huddled near railroad tracks during their protest.

At one point, the group staged a clash with a sympathetic group of protesters in white shirts at 16th and Delgany streets.

"Go home!" members of the mob in white shirts screamed, standing about 20 feet from a stage set up for MSNBC hosts covering the Democratic National Convention.

The veterans group tackled and shoved the white-shirted protesters before jogging down the block, across a street and back into the heart of LoDo for more reenactments.

Dozens of police monitored the event but didn't intervene. IVAW members updated the officers on their maneuevers frequently.

They also attempted to help pedestrians understand what they were seeing. IVAW members in street clothes handed out postcards. "Right now, somewhere in Iraq, a scene like this is playing itself out, often with deadly results," the cards read.

Fort Collins IVAW chapter president Ben Schrader, 28, said the group hopes to use its appearance during the DNC to push its platform: immediate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, better care for veterans, and reparations for the people of Iraq.

Schrader said he volunteered for the military before Sept. 11, but found himself on a mission he disagreed with when he was deployed in Iraq from February 2004 to February 2005. He saw Iraqis innocent Iraqis killed or imprisoned, he said.

While the U.S. is doing good "in small doses" in Iraq, the best plan is for the U.S. to withdraw immediately, Schrader said.

"I saw the actual injustices that were happening, and participated in them because I had to," he said. He spent the day at the group's makeshift headquarters in City of Cuernavaca Park but didn't participate in the exercise.

IVAW has Colorado chapters in Fort Collins, Denver and Colorado Springs.

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