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Global Nonviolent ResistanceDemands Occupation End

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Global Call Iraq

May 1, 2006

Global Nonviolent Resistance Demands an End to Torture and an End to the Occupation of Iraq!

Today, in commemoration of International Workers Day, peacemakers and nonviolent activists from around the world engaged in nonviolent civil resistance to highlight the interconnectedness between the ongoing foreign occupation of Iraq and workers’ struggle for justice around the world. In this war, like all wars, the brunt of the cost -- both human and financial -- is disproportionately felt by the poor and working classes all over the world. In the current debate over immigration, it is important to continue making the connection with the failures of US foreign policy (which lead to greater challenges domestically), of which the Iraq war and invasion are prime examples. The stark reality for immigrants, most of whom are themselves political and economic refugees of US foreign policy, is just another example of the shortsightedness and ultimate failure of decades of US warmongering and international interventionism, of which torture has been a key component.

Given the increasing global awareness of the use of torture and abuse against detainees and others held hostage by coalition forces, the Global Call Iraq Campaign (GCI) in conjunction with many other groups, including Witness Against Torture (witnesstorture.org) and Clergy and Laity Concerned About Iraq (CALCI), called for actions to be organized with the theme “End Torture – End the Occupation of Iraq.” “It is baldly apparent that the U.S. is holding innocent people hostage in a legal and moral limbo,” says Global Call signer Susan Crane. “As the U.S. government denies prisoners the benefits of the Geneva Convention, it stirs legitimate anger around the world. The path to a peaceful world begins with the closure of the [prison at Guantánamo] and an apology to the prisoners for their illegal detention and torture.”

In New York City today, CALCI held an interfaith prayer service, press conference and solemn march outside of the U.S. Mission to the U.N. Over 200 people of faith, including religious leaders from a variety of religious traditions, and other nonviolent activists set up a symbolic prison cage and acted out scenes of torture and abuse while reading the names of torture victims. One of the participants, Jerimarie Liesgang, said, “As long as the U.S. continues to engage in systematic abuse and torture of human beings, we must resist all complicit institutions and demand an end to torture now!”

As of today, GCI is reporting that nonviolent resistance actions have taken place in several cities around the world, including Managua, Nicaragua, New York City, and San Jose, Costa Rica. Global Call anti-war activists also joined with immigrant rights activists throughout the U.S. and around Latin America to demand an end to the Iraq occupation and full amnesty and dignity for the millions of undocumented workers presently in the U.S.

The Global Call Iraq Campaign, led by Nobel Laureates, Religious Leaders and Nonviolent Activists from around the world, is calling for escalating nonviolent resistance throughout this year. When asked about what comes next for GCI, Patty Adams, organizer for GCI, said, “Momentum is already building for global nonviolent civil resistance over August 6th to 9th (the 61st anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki) focusing on war profiteering and the theme “End the Slaughter of the Innocents: End the Occupation of Iraq!” Adams left today for a three month tour of Europe, where she will visit with GCI signers, peace activists and other organizers of the resistance movement there to increase coordination and collaboration in order to build the global resistance movement. Her trip will begin at the European Social Forum and end at the War Resisters International Globalising Nonviolence conference.

According to GCI, as the wars and corporate occupation continue in Iraq and Afghanistan, and as the Bush Administration foments a nuclear crisis with Iran, the upcoming August anniversaries of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki offer global nonviolent activists a chance to address three related problems: the growing threat of nuclear weapons (starting with the arsenal in the U.S.), the U.S. endless wars abroad, and the continuing corporate invasion of the Middle East and the Global South. Learn more about the Global Call Iraq campaign at www.globalcalliraq.org

ENDS

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