The recent American and British bombing of Baghdad added a new dimension to a protest originally planned to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Ameriyeh Shelter bombing, which killed hundreds of Iraqi civilians.
Chanting “Stop the bombing, end the sanctions, let Iraq live,” several dozen students and community members bundled up to avoid the cold and protest U.S. policies toward Iraq.
Signs reading “$$$$ billions for guns and bombs/0 for human rights” and “Read our lips: No more bombs!” earned stares and a few honks from people driving past the federal building on Liberty Street on Saturday afternoon.
The Ameriyeh Shelter was a neighborhood bomb shelter in Baghdad that was destroyed during the Persian Gulf War in 1991.
The U.S. and Great Britain launched a joint attack on Iraqi radar sites Friday.
“It”s significant that they bombed the capital, Baghdad, but they”ve been bombing Iraq every day since 1998,” said SNRE junior Norah Rabiah, president of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee.
Prem Clayton, director of public affairs for the Christian Society in Detroit, said he agreed with the protesters” message and said their views should be given more attention and taken further. “Even though this is a very benevolent and noble effort, our consideration should be to cleanse our hearts,” he said.
Some Ann Arbor residents doing business in the post office expressed surprise at the most recent bombing.
Darryl Hagman said his first response to the news was “Oh my God, another Bush in the White House is on the attack.”
But Ann Arbor resident Joe Miessner disagreed. “I don”t consider the bombing to be anything other than normal,” he said. “Clinton did the same thing for years and years and years. It doesn”t make much difference who”s in power.”