Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Iowans Rally for Declaration of Peace

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Iowans Rally for Declaration of Peace

Article excerpt

In concert with over 330 member organizations of the nationwide Declaration of Peace coalition, some 75 Iowans representing nine local organizations rallied in Des Moines, Iowa on Sept. 25.

"It's past time to get out of Iraq. It's time to have meaningful dialogue with Iran and to keep having meaningful dialogue for as long as it takes," Lynne Howard of the Des Moines Valley Friends Meeting told the crowd assembled in Nollen Plaza in downtown Des Moines on a perfect fall day. "How many more young troops will die, and for what, before you end this deceitfully conceived, illegal and immoral war?" Howard rhetorically asked her congressman, Leonard Boswell (D-IA).

"I'm here to support the peace movement," explained Charlie Day, a volunteer with the American Friends Service Committee. "It is time to end the occupation and let the Iraqis work out their own problems instead of fighting U.S. troops," he said.

Rev. Chet Guinn of the Methodist Federation for Social Action read a statement issued by Sen. Tom Harkin. The Iowa Democrat recently introduced in the Senate Concurrent Resolution 93, which calls for the redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of the year, no permanent U.S. bases in Iraq, and no U.S. control of Iraq's oil.

After the rally, about 35 activists marched to the Federal Building, where a smaller group attempted to visit the office of Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to urge his public support of the Declaration's goal for a comprehensive plan for peace. They got no farther than the lobby, however. Rebuffed by Senator Grassley's representative and asked by security officers to leave the building if they had no other business there, Catholic Peace Ministry director Brian Terrell read from a list of names of U.S. military personnel who have died in Iraq. When they refused an order to leave the building, Terrell, Chris Gaunt, Chet Guinn and Betsy Keenan were arrested and transported to the Des Moines Police Station, where they were cited for failure to comply with directions to disperse (demonstration trespassing), and released. They have the option of paying a $100 fine or appearing in court.

A second group of about 20 activists marched to the Third District office of Congressman Boswell. They were allowed to enter the office and meet with the congressman's staff, who arranged a speakerphone conference with Boswell in his Washington, DC office. …

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