Hundreds of anti-war protesters gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on Sunday to protest the war in Ukraine. The turnout of thousands that organizers had anticipated did not materialize. The event called “Rage Against the War Machine,” sponsored by the Libertarian Party and the People’s Party, was broadcast live stream on YouTube with a few thousand viewers. The event included an eclectic group of speakers, the most significant being Dennis Kucinich, Tulsi Gabbard, and Ron Paul.
The main focus of the event was ending the war in Ukraine. The organizers’ website enumerated the following objectives: 1. Not One More Penny for War in Ukraine, 2. Negotiate Peace, 3. Stop the War Inflation, 4. Disband NATO, 5. Global Nuclear De-Escalation, 6. Slash the Pentagon Budget, 7. Abolish the CIA and Military-Industrial Deep State, 8. Abolish War and Empire, 9. Restore Civil Liberties, and 10. Free Julian Assange.
The event began at 12:30 pm EST and finished four hours later. Speakers included former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein told the crowd, “Our leaders are playing a game of nuclear chicken.” Comedian and activist Jimmy Dore told the crowd “America is so corrupt even our Nobel peace prize winners are war criminals.”
The event included a number of former congressional representatives and presidential candidates. Ohio’s Dennis Kucinich accused leaders in Washington of circumventing the constitution and international law by blowing up Nordstream pipeline. He said that the U.S. is then profiting from the act of sabotage by selling energy to Europe at a 4 to 6 times markup. “Our government’s aggressive nature has alienated nation’s of the world,” Kucinich told those in attendance. The former Ohio Congressman said that NATO is using the people of Ukraine as pawns in a vicious chess game. He also decried the fact that federal law enforcement is being weaponized against political opponents, concluding “We must change our government before it destroys this nation.”
Former Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard spoke passionately against the war, saying that the world is on the verge of a nuclear holocaust. She told the crowd categorically that “World War III cannot be won… The task before us is urgent and necessary…We value life. We want to live… We must unite for peace.”
A speech by Former Texas Congressman Ron Paul, criticizing draft registration and highlighting many of the themes of his previous campaigns. Paul stated that the military industrial complex is the driving force behind intrusive big government.
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The event concluded with a video address from Pink Floyd founder Roger Waters who urged people to listen to both sides of the argument. As he did in his recent address to the U.N. Security Council, Waters condemned both sides for what is going on in Ukraine, but said that the Biden administration and its “NATO vassals” are primarily responsible for the war. He accused the United States of advancing NATO’s borders toward Russia in violation of earlier agreements, organizing a coup d’etat in Ukraine in 2014, and of not respecting the 2019 Minsk accords. He concluded his address saying, “Enough is enough. We demand change. Do the right thing. Implement a cease-fire in Ukraine today.”
The event was not without disputes among the organizers. Controversial former intelligence officer Scott Ritter was scheduled to speak but was prevented from doing so when the Libertarian Party threatened to pull out of the event if he did. In a post on Twitter, Ritter said, “The Libertarian Party, one of the organizers of the event (the other being the People’s Party), determined that I did not pass their litmus test of qualities they required for speakers at the rally, and threatened to block the rally if I were to speak. I withdrew in the interest of allowing the other voices scheduled to speak at the rally the opportunity to be heard.”
Earlier in the day, over 50,000 anti-war protesters turned out in Munich, chanting “No German Tanks to the Eastern Front,” “Fight the Fascists!,” and “F*** Biden!” The event was organized on the occasion of 59th Munich Security Conference being held in the city where leaders of NATO nations are meeting to plan the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine.
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