Civil Rights

Providence joins worldwide protests against Russian invasion of Ukraine

“This war on Ukraine by Russia is a horrible, brutal and illegal thing,” said William Smith of Pax Christie Rhode Island. “Provocation or not, history or not, there’s no possible excuse for shelling and bombing residential areas using cluster and vacuum bombs and for crossing an international boundary with military forces…”
Photo for Providence joins worldwide protests against Russian invasion of Ukraine

Published on March 7, 2022
By Steve Ahlquist

Over 100 people gathered on the south lawn of the Rhode Island State House on Sunday to join voices with similar rallies around the world in opposing Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. Below is all the video:

“We’re here today because we oppose war wherever it takes place and whoever initiates it,” said organizer Timothy Sprouls. “This time it’s the Russian government that has started the war by invading Ukraine. Already thousands of people have been killed and over a million have been displaced. However, we don’t absolve the United States government of responsibility for letting this situation get to this point…”

“What is happening is morally wrong and the result of a brute tyrant spreading misinformation that fits his narrative as it relates to wrongfully invading another country,” said Rhode Island State Representative David Morales. “We are being fed the idea, the profit driven idea within the media and within government that war is the only solution to confront this crisis…”

“My heart is breaking with all the cruelty and suffering in this world,” said Nancy Hood from East Bay Citizens for Peace. “Amidst the horror of the war in Ukraine, I’m moved by acts of kindness and courage as I hold on to hope for humankind…”

“There are no winners in war. The path forward is not escalation. The path forward is peace. The path forward is diplomacy and the path forward is calling for an immediate cease-fire,” said Tyler Barnes-Diana from Brown War Watch.

[You can read the full statement from Brown War Watch at the bottom of the page.]

“This war on Ukraine by Russia is a horrible, brutal, and illegal thing,” said William Smith of Pax Christie Rhode Island. “Provocation or not, history or not, there’s no possible excuse for shelling and bombing residential areas using cluster and vacuum bombs and for crossing an international boundary with military forces…”

Terri Wright from DARE (Direct Action for Rights and Equality) sang “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye.

Commenting on the idea that the Russian people should deal with Putin, Alex Herbert, recently returned from Russia, noted that people call Putin a dictator but “don’t really understand what the full power of a dictator entails.”

“I was in St. Petersburg when the protests started,” said Herbert. “I walked through the crowd… chanting ‘No War!’ With some of the people that were there. I even got stopped by a police officer who asked to see my documents and when he saw I had an American passport he just told me to ‘get the hell out of here’ probably because he didn’t want to fill out the paperwork…”

You can read about Alex Herbert’s experience of getting out of Russia here: Confronting experience and contradictions in the Russia-Ukraine Crisis

“If you are fighting for climate justice, if you’re fighting for trans rights, if you’re fighting for racial justice and you, like me, are overwhelmed, feeling like you’re trying to hold the strings of the world together and you’re just one person – don’t be,” said high school student David LeClerc, an organizer with the Sunrise Movement.

“Don’t be alone in this, because we’re all fighting for the same thing – to make the world better. To improve people’s lives. I am asking you today to consider the idea that it is all one issue…”

Sister Mary Pendergast tied the aims of the peace movement and our present, intersecting crises to the efforts of the Poor People’s Campaign and asked people to get involved.

“I want you to imagine now a world of peace that works for justice…”

“Too often the killing has been done by religious people professing a belief in a loving God,” said Scott Schaefer Duffy, with the Catholic Worker in Worcester, Massachusetts.

“We want to stop this war. We want this war to end. To do that we have to get to the roots. And NATO is the root,” said Jordan Jace from the Party for Socialism and Liberation.

Carlos Asseph of the Providence Democratic Socialists of America.

Pawtucket City Councilmember Alexis Schuette:

Peter Orlando:

Isaiah-Tobias Lee:

Statement from Brown War Watch:

“We at Brown War Watch condemn warmongering in any shape or form.

“We strongly oppose the Russian invasion of Ukraine which is driven by odious nationalistic and imperialistic ambitions, and shows disregard for the lives, livelihoods and aspirations of the Ukrainian people. The horrific human costs of the war are already apparent and will only grow more grim with every day of war; the animosity it engenders will poison the region and the international policy arena for the foreseeable future and accelerate war profiteering, the climate crisis, and the gross misallocation of resources toward human suffering and away from human uplift.

“We call on the Russian government to agree to an immediate ceasefire and retreat from the occupied Ukrainian territories, while also committing to serious diplomatic negotiations about the underlying tensions. We decry President Putin’s threat to use nuclear weapons and castigate the use of weapons that break the Geneva conventions and cause horrific human suffering. We revere the courage of Russian anti-war protestors and activists and hope a wave of Russian citizens may be inspired by them, and act with them.

“Our heart breaks for the millions of war refugees created by this unjust act of aggression, and we denounce in the strongest terms the racist treatment of refugees at the Ukrainian border. We call on all countries to welcome and support refugees from this and all conflicts across the globe regardless of their race or religion. We denounce the embedded racism in the media’s coverage of this conflict, and its perpetual willingness to ignore serious and ongoing conflicts and oppressions across the globe because of this deep-rooted racism.

“Wars do not happen in a historical and international relations vacuum. We oppose the long-standing bellicosity of US foreign policy toward Russia, including their support for the overthrow of the Ukrainian government in 2014. We oppose the steady and relentless expansion of NATO toward the Russian borders despite the successive generations of statesmen assuring Russia this would not happen. We urge the United States and its partners to show a serious commitment to non-intervention in Ukrainian affairs, so that a peaceful resolution to the crisis may prevent the loss of more lives to violence. The United States must lead a path of de-escalation.

“Preventing the wasteful escalation of a new Cold War, with Ukraine as a pawn and proxy war, must be an international priority. Given the urgency of the climate crisis we face and the ongoing global pandemic we have not a moment to lose. Brown War Watch urges everyone to work for peace.”

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