Shouting "U.S. off of Iraqi soil," more than 1,000 anti-war demonstrators marched Saturday afternoon from the Center for Social Justice on Capitol Hill to the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center off Yesler Way. The march was timed to coincide with a demonstration of tens of thousands of protestors in Washington, D.C.
The demonstrators took a minute to regroup, then continued east on South Jackson Street toward the arts center, where Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, who is facing a military tribunal for disobeying orders, read a prepared speech to a filled auditorium.
Soldiers have a right to choose which wars to fight in, said Watada, who rose to public view after refusing to deploy to Iraq in June 2006. "It is not only our right but our constitutional and moral duty," he said.
Watada's speech also called for people to continue to protest the Iraq War, which he said was unconstitutional. Watada compared his dissent in the current war to the lack of dissent in Nazi Germany during World War II.
"In a system of democracy such as ours, the crimes of the government are the crimes of the people," he said.
Watada ended his speech by suggesting that the American military presence in Iraq was as if Great Britain or the French had come to the United States during the American Civil War.
"What if they killed President Abraham Lincoln, put the South in charge of the country and changed the Constitution to benefit French and British companies?" he said. "If we truly believe in democracy we must listen to what the Iraqis want."
Saturday, January 27, 2007
"More than 1,000 in Seattle protest war"