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March on October 9! (Press release)

This concerns Seattle, but hopefully it will encourage more participation in the Portland march too. Also see the leaflet at  http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2010/10/402783.shtml
AS DEATH TOLLS IN AFGHANISTAN RISE, SEATTLE ACTIVISTS TAKE TO THE STREETS

Citizens will voice their opposition to this waste of life and treasure

What: Rally and March to End Occupation in Afghanistan
Where: Westlake Plaza, 4th & Pine, downtown Seattle
When: 1 pm Rally, 2 pm March, Saturday, Oct. 9th

Seattle activists will take to the streets as we enter the 10th year of the U.S. led occupation of Afghanistan. A wide coalition of Seattle peace and social justice groups are sponsoring a march and rally marking the Oct 7, 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. At the 1 pm rally, speakers will highlight the devastating costs of war and occupation--to the U.S, the Afghan people and globally. After a rousing chorus, lead by members of Seattle Labor Chorus, we will march through downtown Seattle.

This is to call to action. While nearly 60% of Americans oppose the war, we've been sidelined. It's time to re-energize.

"It's clear that our involvement in Afghanistan is not going to end anytime soon and one goal of this event is to re-build our strong coalition for peace and social justice here in Seattle and the region" says Karen Jones of Sound Non-Violent Opponents of War and one of the rally organizers. "Obama has nearly tripled troop presence during his term of office. Estimates are that in 2013-2016 there will still be 68,000 troops in Afghanistan. This is double what it was in 2009 when Obama took office. We need to continue to be active and united. Last Saturday, hundreds turned out for the One-Nation Rally Seattle for jobs and justice. We expect a large turn-out on Oct 9th as well.
The impact of this war has been devastating to the Afghan people and to U.S. soldiers. Death and injury to soldiers as well as Afghan civilians has doubled in the past year. These effects are felt at home. "Nearly as many soldiers are now committing suicide as are being killed in combat. An estimated 18 veterans take their own lives each day," states Frank Arango of Seattle Anti-Imperialist Committee. "There's been a 177% increase in spouse abuse, child abuse and neglect among returning soldiers. Our youth are caught between the jaws of joblessness outside the military and being forced to fight in unjust wars inside it."

The other side of this terrible picture is that ordinary soldiers continue to resist. "As war crimes by U.S. forces are coming to light, it is important that we support GI whistle-blowers like Bradley Manning, and also the troops who refuse to fight in illegal wars and occupations," said Gerry Condon, president of Greater Seattle Veterans For Peace.

As the "war on terror" continues, those who speak for social justice are increasingly targets. Last week the FBI raided the homes of anti-war activists. "The aim of the FBI raids is clearly the suppression of free speech and dissent. The government wants all activists to be afraid to speak out. And the Obama administration's Justice Department is now leading the charge." states Jane Cutter of A.N.S.W.E.R

Meanwhile estimates for the total direct & indirect costs of U.S. occupations of Iraq & Afghanistan will be anywhere from 5-7 trillion dollars. These dollars are needed here at home for education, health care, infrastructure and clean green jobs. Seattle alone has spent $2.7 billion tax dollars on war. Moreover reparations are owed citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan for the devastation of their land and infrastructures.

On Oct 8 the 10th year of the occupation of Afghanistan begins. Let's show our strength and determination to end war & occupation and mobilize for peace & social justice.