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Action over the pond

Americans rallied against President Obama’s decision to escalate the war in Afghanistan with demonstrations big and small throughout December. Over 200 protesters marched to the military academy in West Point, where President Obama was making the announcement on 1 December, to hold a candlelight vigil. Six people were arrested for “blocking the roadway.”

On 12 December about 150 activists gathered in front of the White House, including four 2008 presidential candidates – Ralph Nader, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, former Rep. Cynthia McKinney and former Sen. Mike Gravel – who addressed the crowd.

Dozens marched in downtown Chicago, Olympia, Washington and Burlington, Vermont on 6 December, 11 December and 13 December, respectively. In Grand Rapids, Michigan two activists staged a sit-in in Senator Carl Levin’s regional office on 3 December, while a small crowd protested outside the building. They were removed in handcuffs when the office closed.

Almost a hundred people chanted their disapproval on 2 December in Philadelphia during a rainy rush hour and another 200 protesters marched on 5 December in south Minneapolis, Minnesota, handing out leaflets to motorists.

Meanwhile, two American activists served jail time for their anti-war action on 21 May in Washington. Ellen Barfield, Peter Perry and Eve Tetaz were convicted in October for interrupting a Senate Foreign Relation Committee hearing. Barfield and Tetaz scattered blood-stained dollar bills, while Perry addressed Senator Kerry with his own words about Vietnam War.

On December 14, Judge Lynne Leibovitz sentenced Barfield to 25 days in prison for creating a “biohazard.” Perry received four days, while Tetaz’s sentencing was postponed due to health reasons. Both Barfield and Perry have now been released from prison.