Austinites Protest Iraq War

Opposition to the War in Iraq From Deep in the Heart of Texas
Thorne Dreyer, for Next Left Notes

Austin — Some 30 Austin activists, dressed all in black, stood in near-freezing drizzle in front of the Texas state capitol building for over an hour beginning at 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18, to express their disgust with George Bush’s War in Iraq. The event was part of Iraq Moratorium’s ongoing “Third Friday” demonstrations against the war.

The effort was organized by MDS-Austin, CodePink and Texas Labor Against the War. These three groups have emerged as an effective working coalition that has energized a dormant but wide-spread anti-war sentiment in the capital city of Texas. In December the three groups brought over 50 spirited Christmas carolers together at the same location to greet rush hour drivers with anti-war songs.

At the Jan. 18 event CodePink had planned to line the sidewalk with footwear symbolizing the Iraqi dead. The weather didn’t permit the “In Their Shoes” display, but it didn’t keep away the crowd.

The revitalization of the Austin movement began when MDS printed and began to distribute red and white yard signs saying “Peace. Bring the Troops Home Now.” Close to 3,000 of the signs have been distributed in the Austin area and are also used as placards at demonstrations, providing some visual continuity to the movement here.

MDS leader Alice Embree said, “The Iraq Moratorium has been extremely valuable in providing an on-going vehicle for the anti-war community to grow, to coalesce. And the visibility of MDS’ signs as you drive around the city provides a connection between the activists and the larger community.”

The next Iraq Moratorium activity will be a street theater event labeled “Bring Out the Dogs” scheduled for Feb. 15 at 5 p.m. outside the offices of U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, at 221 W. Sixth Street in Austin. Cornyn, one of George Bush’s closest cronies, is known as the president’s “lap dog,” and participants have been asked to bring their dogs to the demonstration or to come “dressed as dogs.”

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