Americans on Hunger Strike over Iraq War

While millions of fellow compatriots were dressed up for gala celebrations of the Independence Day on Tuesday, July 4, anti-Iraq war Americans, including Hollywood stars, went on a symbolic hunger strike

Americans on Hunger Strike over Iraq War

Demanding the immediate return of US troops from Iraq, we've marched, held vigils, lobbied Congress, camped out at Bush's ranch, we've even gone to jail, now it's time to do more," said Cindy Sheehan, who emerged as an anti-war icon after losing her 24-year-old son Casey in Iraq.

Anti-war protestors savored a last meal outside the White House Monday night, before embarking on a "Troops Home Fast", reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).

The hunger strike saw four prominent anti-war activists, Sheehan, Hollywood star Sean Penn veteran, comedian and peace campaigner Dick Gregory and former army colonel Ann Wright.

Other supporters, including Hollywood stars Danny Glover and Susan Sarandon and novelist Alice Walker, will join a "rolling" fast, a relay in which 2,700 activists pledge to refuse food for at least 24 hours.

"We have done everything we could think of to end this war, we have protested, held marches, vigils ... lobbied, written letters to Congress," said Meredith Dearborn, of human rights group Global Exchange.

"Now it is time to bring the pain and suffering of war home. We are putting our bodies on the line for peace."

The hunger strike was the latest bid by the US anti-war movement to grab hold of American public opinion, after numerous marches, vigils and political campaigns.

Perhaps the only time the anti-Iraq war movement captured lasting coverage was in August 2005, when Sheehan and supporters pitched camp outside Bush's Texas ranch, where the president habitually stays in high summer.

The US invaded Iraq in March 2003 on the grounds that it was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction and had links to Al-Qaeda.

A congressional report later concluded the Bush administration was "dead wrong" on the MWD claim and that Iraq had no link with Al-Qaeda.

Open-Ended

The protesters having their last meal in front of the White House before starting a hunger strike. (Reuters)

Some protesters said their fast would continue beyond July 4, Reuters reported.

"I don't know how long I can fast, but I am making this open-ended," said environmental campaigner Diane Wilson, who has launched serious, long-term fasts.

"We have to put our own lives on the line, and I'm willing to do that," added Wilson, who pledged to fast until the United States withdraws from Iraq.

Dearborn said 2,700 other activists nationwide would work as a relay team passing the fast daily from one to another.

Sheehan said she would drink only water throughout the summer, which she said she would spend outside Bush's ranch.

"This war is a crime," the icon mother told a crowd of clapping, cheering protesters.

"We represent millions of Americans who withdraw their support from this government."

Recent polls reveal public skepticism over Iraq, and damage to Bush's personal ratings.

A poll by Bloomberg and the Los Angeles Times showed Monday that 54 percent of American adults regret Bush's decision to invade Iraq.

In a poll in Time magazine published Friday only 33 percent of respondents approved of Bush's leadership on Iraq while 64 percent said they disapproved his handling of the war.

Some 2,526 US soldiers have died since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, according to an AFP tally based on Pentagon figures.

Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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