CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — With temperatures in the teens and an added chill from the breeze, dozens of people from several local anti-war groups gathered in front of the Wrigley Building Saturday.
“They say, ‘More war;’ we say, ‘No war,’” protesters chanted.
The Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER) Coalition was formed in the days after the 9/11 attacks and initiated an anti-war movement in the months leading up to March 18, 2003. Twenty years later, Emil Mitchell was among the speakers representing the ANSWER Coalition in Chicago.
“There’s a war machine out there, and we all know it’s funded with trillions of dollars, but here at the ANSWER Coalition, all of our groups, we are building a peace machine that will end war for good,” he said. “It will take all of us.”
The rally was one of several nationwide demonstrations marking the 20th anniversary of the Iraq War invasion.
Mitchell said the U.S. government claims there’s not enough money for schools, healthcare, housing, wages, or climate change.
“Yet they find almost $1 trillion for war every war,” he said. “That’s why we demand that they must fund the people’s needs — not the war machine.”
To Mitchell, and others at the anti-war demonstration, this would include a stop to military aid in Ukraine. A counterpoint on Saturday came from someone who may seem like an unlikely source: Anastasia Voronova, a Russian who came to the United States four years ago to study.
Voronova told WBBM that it’s not safe for her to return to Russia with her firm held belief in support of Ukraine’s sovereignty. She was part of a two-person counterprotest to the anti-war rally, Russian-born Igor Studenkov joining her. He said the situation in Ukraine would be much worse without global support.
“Ukraine is being invaded, and it needs help,” he said. “The sooner they can get help, the sooner this war can be over, the sooner Ukrainian cities can stop being bombed, and the sooner — hopefully — that all the people who had to flee will be able to go home.”
Studenkov said Mitchell’s groups should direct their anger at Russian president Vladimir Putin, and he added that Ukraine should receive all the help it can get.
“We believe that any lasting peace in Ukraine is impossible without Russian troops getting out of Ukraine, without all of the detained Ukrainian civilians being freed, without all the people accused of war crimes being tried before an international tribunal," Studenkov said.
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