Antiwar Protesters Decry Handling of Iran
By Michael E. Ruane, Washington Post, Sept. 26, 2007; A11
A group of antiwar protesters demonstrated outside the White House yesterday to condemn what they termed the government's "demonization" of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and said they think the Bush administration is preparing the public for an attack on Iran.
The 25 protesters, most of them from the Troops Out Now Coalition, walked in a circle on the sidewalk north of the White House, chanting "Get out of Iraq! Stay out of Iran!" and holding signs that read: "Don't Terrorize Iran" and "Don't Appease Israel."
They dismissed the criticisms this week of the Iranian president, saying the United States had criticized Saddam Hussein before invading Iraq.
"There's a hysteria in the media emanating from New York . . . against the president of Iran," coalition spokesman Larry Holmes said. "We're here in response to what's been going on in New York: the Columbia debate, the front pages of the tabloids, the electronic media, demonizing the president. And we know what it's about.
"We know that the government is in very advanced stages of planning for a war in Iran. They've got a naval armada" in the Persian Gulf, he said. "The Pentagon's got its plans. And now we see the psychological preparation."
The Iranian president has been criticized this week for questioning the Holocaust and saying there are no homosexuals in Iran.
Referring to Ahmadinejad's controversial statements, Holmes said: "I don't think it's relevant. I think that's an interesting philosophical discussion about theology, about social views, that you have over coffee."
Yesterday's protest is part of week-long antiwar rally that will culminate Saturday in a march scheduled to begin at noon from a coalition camp on the west side of the U.S. Capitol.
Spokesmen said the events are aimed mainly at stopping the war in Iraq and what they called injustice at home. The march route was being worked out, organizers said. The National Park Service said the group's permit suggests that between 2,000 and 5,000 marchers are expected.
"The focus here is stop the war at home and abroad," coalition spokesman Dustin Langley said Monday. "We think there's a real connection between the fact that they're spending $750 million a day on the war and people here die because they don't have access to health care."
The march comes after a large antiwar protest Sept. 15 and precedes an antiwar, anti-global warming rally scheduled for next month. The coalition says there have been numerous marches because the war has not ended and because antiwar groups might have different targets.
"Repeated protests are even more important than whether we get half a million people out here," Langley said. "It may just be important to be here and just dog them because they're lying to us."
For details about the Encampment & the Sept 29 March on Washington see:
Troops Out Now Coalition