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Peace rally decries possible war with Iraq

500 protesters endure cold, wind to hear Rev. McMicle say Bush lied: ?It is all about oil?
Plain Dealer (via
Angela D. Chatman

With peaceful images of Christmas surrounding them on Public Square yesterday, a coalition of peace groups rallied against going to war with Iraq.

"During this season of peace, rest and reflection, the Bush administration is gearing up for war, death and destruction," Greg Coleridge of the Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee told about 500 people.

At noon, the people braved the freezing cold and wind to protest the threatened war with Iraq, a war they said would be fought for oil at the expense of jobs, health care, education and social services at home.

It was the second rally and march held by the Northeast Ohio Anti-War Coalition, made up of peace groups, churches, trade unions and concerned activists.

Other speakers included Fareed Siddiq, past secretary of the Islamic Center of Cleveland; U.S. Reps. Sherrod Brown and Stephanie Tubbs Jones; Sister Alicia Alvarado, director of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland's Office of Hispanic Ministries; John Ryan, executive secretary of Cleveland AFL-CIO Federation of Labor; and the Rev. Marvin McMickle, pastor of Antioch Baptist Church.

"The people of Iraq have suffered extreme hardship from the sanctions imposed on their country since 1991," Alvarado said. She said Iraqis would be displaced and some would become refugees in a war.

Brown said President Bush has reversed five decades of U.S. policy against attacking regimes with which it did not agree. He said containment, collective security and diplomacy should be the approach.

McMickle said Bush lied when he said the goal was to bring democracy to Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. "It is all about oil," he said.

People carrying signs with slogans such as "Stop the War on Iraq. No War for Oil," "Shalom," and "War is for Losers," chanted as they marched from Public Square to the Federal Office Building at East 6th Street and Lakeside Avenue, where a Pledge of Resistance was read.

Among them were Euclid residents Nathan Clark and his wife, Mui, a native of India, who carried a sign representing "Euclidians for Peace."

"We believe that U.S. policies in Iraq are not in the best interest of people but in the best interest of corporations," Nathan Clark said.

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