This weekend will feature a peace rally on the anniversary of the start of U.S. military action in Iraq, and it will include another demonstration at the state National Guard Headquarters at Camp Dodge. Kathleen McQuillen with the American Friends Service Committee says the theme is “lending a hand for peace.”It’s grown a lot and she says this’ll be a more creative event than in the past, including giant puppets and colorful displays. Saturday’s events take place in Des Moines, and one of the featured speakers in Drake University’s Olmstead Center will be sixties civil-liberties leader Tom Hayden. The protestors will spend the second day demonstrating against U.S. military action in Iraq. To lift up the message to the soldiers and commanders to stop particiapting in a war where she says nearly 600 US troops have died, thousands have been injured, and many thousand of Iraqis have been killed. McQuillen doesn’t expect a grand-jury investigation or terrorism probe of the kind that followed the group’s last demonstration, in November. She says that drew so much news coverage, it had a useful effect when the extent of the FBI probe was revealed. It got lifted up to a national level, where it became clear similar things were happening in other cities and the FBI’s spying on pther peace and religious groups speaking out for peace. McQuillen says anyone who would like to join the civil disobedience demonstration at the STARC Armory in Johnston must first attend a training session Saturday in techniques of nonviolence.They do the training process every time, to let people know what to expect and what their legal rights are, advice like if someone yells, keep walking and invite them to join, and don’t strike back if anybody strikes you. Speakers include a anti-war group of women of a certain age who go by the name of the “Raging Grannies.”Events begin with a Peace Parade at 1 P.M. Saturday at Drake University, 29th and University in Des Moines.
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