Protests demand U.S. hands off Russia, Ukraine, Venezuela

In response to a call from the International Action Center, demonstrations, outreach and other actions took place in cities and areas across the United States in mid-March to demand U.S. hands off Venezuela and no U.S. intervention in Ukraine or Russia. These actions also countered the lies and distortions of the big-business-owned media regarding the situation in these areas of the world.

People rallied in Oakland, Calif., on March 17 to demand U.S. hands off Ukraine, Venezuela and Syria. Participants focused on outreach and public education to counter the mainstream media’s pro-imperialist deluge of lies. They handed out hundreds of leaflets to passersby, while speakers exposed the U.S. and its European allies for their warmongering tactics.

The rally was Initiated by Workers World Party and endorsed by the Bay Area Latin American Solidarity Coalition, the Haiti Action Committee, the International Action Center, Lake Merritt Neighbors Organized for Peace, Marcha Patriótica – Capítulo California, the Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal and the United National Anti-War Coalition.

San DiegoWW photo: Carl Rices

San Diego
WW photo: Carl Rices

That same day in San Diego, protesters gathered outside the local NBC affiliate to demand U.S. hands off Russia, Ukraine and Venezuela. Youth, homeward bound workers and sightseeing tourists were handed an informative IAC flyer titled “What’s really happening in Ukraine? Don’t be fooled!”

Meanwhile in Detroit, anti-war activists responded to a call from the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice and gathered March 18 at Hart Plaza during the afternoon rush hour. With signs and banners they denounced U.S. imperialism’s designs to destabilize Venezuela and foment NATO’s expansion into Ukraine.

From a “Truth Table” set up by activists in Philadelphia’s Center City to a rally at Baltimore’s McKeldin Square and a vigil on the steps of the Federal Building in Lincoln, Neb., these and other actions found people receptive to an anti-war viewpoint.

In New York City, people joined a militant rush-hour protest outside CNN’s offices at Columbus Circle on March 14. Picketing outside the opulent Time Warner Center, protesters chanted, “CNN lies, people die, in Ukraine and Venezuela!” and “[Anderson] Cooper, [Wolf] Blitzer, stop supporting fascists!”

At a closing rally outside the Fox News studios, Larry Holmes of the People’s Power Assembly said, “We demand to know why CNN and Fox are not talking about the prominent role played by neo-Nazis in this coup d’état in Kiev. Why aren’t they talking about how these fascists are displaying the Confederate flag out of some sick nostalgia for slavery?”

Lourdes Vela, representing the New York Bolivarian movement, said: “In Venezuela, the government is doing everything it can to stop the fascists who are trying to carry out a coup. There are paramilitaries and Colombian mercenaries that have entered the country and are trying to infiltrate into all corners. They are doing this because they have lost power.”

John McCain receives indictment

Other actions included a march on the offices of warhawk U.S. Sen. John McCain on March 14 in Tucson, Ariz., where a People’s Indictment was read charging McCain with three counts of “material support for terrorists” based on his support of reactionary movements in Ukraine, Venezuela and Syria. An enlarged copy of the indictment was taped to the door.

In Los Angeles, protesters from several organizations and communities overflowed the corner of Echo Park Avenue and Sunset Boulevard on March 14. In front of a large banner reading “White House, CIA, Pentagon — Hands Off Ukraine, Venezuela and Syria,” they distributed hundreds of flyers countering U.S. media and government lies.

Activists in Huntington, W.V., also came out March 14, calling for “U.S. hands off Ukraine! Money for people’s needs, not war!”

At Boston’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Peace Parade on March 16, the Team Solidarity Sound Truck helped spread the anti-war message while contingents carried signs reading “U.S. imperialism — Hands off Ukraine, Venezuela and Syria.”  An informational picket was called by Workers World Party in Durham, N.C.’s, Brightleaf Square Historic District on March 14. Protesters called for “Money for unemployment insurance, food stamps and higher wages, not war!” and distributed fact sheets to passersby.

Actions were also held in Buffalo, N.Y.; Houston; and Minneapolis.

Greg Butterfield, Steven Ceci, Terri Kay, Bob McCubbin, Frank Neisser, John Parker, Bryan Pfeifer, Betsey Piette, Benji Pyles, Paul Teitelbaum and Dan Van Dandervance contributed to this report.