I was there to film and take pictures as fifty or so peace activists came out early this cold morning on the steps of City Hall to tell Mayor Bill Di Blasio and institutions like Harvard University and MIT in Boston, also where the Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud will be visiting while in the US, not to meet with a war criminal.
Protesters told de Blasio to denounce the Saudi Prince’s visit and told Senators Schumer & Menendez to immediately commit to vote to end US support for Saudi war on Yemen. Members of the NYC Metro Raging Grannies and Their Daughters led the protesters in song, and others, dressed as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and US President Trump, held props representing money and war planes.
QUOTES FROM THE EVENT SPEAKERS
Somia Alrowmeim, NYC Protest Co-Organizer and MC:
“For three years now, I have witnessed the total destruction of my ancestors’ homeland and the pain and suffering of family, friends, and millions of innocent Yemenis as my beloved America continues to fuel and support Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen.”
Rabyaah Althaibani, NYC Protest Co-Organizer
“For more than three years I have seen the world forgetting the war on Yemen. I have seen the people who didn’t get killed by rockets and Saudi bombs killed by slow death. Sixty-five percent of the Yemeni people have been working without a salary for two years. They need immediate help. The people are dying from hunger and disease from no electricity, no water, and no gas. Even the environment is polluted by the use of internationally prohibited weapons. I have a hope that the USA is going to stop the war and save Yemeni people’s lives.”
Kate Alexander, Policy & Outreach Director, Peace Action NYS, Protest Co-Host
“The population of Yemen is sick and starving, and being bombed the Saudi-led coalition with U.S. support. Our elected officials — Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, and Mayor Bill de Blasio — must end support for this unconscionable war impacting Yemeni families, in New York and in Yemen.”
Isaac Evans-Frantz, Unpaid Organizer, Action Corps NYC, Protest Co-Organizer
“Time is running out for the people of Yemen. We thank Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Cory Booker for supporting the bill to end US support for Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen. We demand that Senators Chuck Schumer and Bob Menendez follow their lead. Congress should listen to the American people: Stop bombing children.”
William D. Hartung, Center for International Policy, NY Protest Speaker:
“Mohammed bin Salman’s propaganda tour of the United States should not be allowed to obscure the devastating impact of his U.S.-backed bombing campaign and blockade of Yemen, which has killed thousands and put millions more at risk. The best way to mark his visit is for the Senate to pass the Sanders/Lee/Murphy bill that would end U.S. support for Saudi airstrikes that Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) has said ‘look like war crimes.'”
Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK cofounder and author of a book on Saudi Arabia, DC Protest Co-Organizer
“Mohammed Bin Salman employs an army of lobbyists and PR firms to sell himself as a reformer when he is really a war criminal and a power-hungry bully whose ego rivals that of Donald Trump. It is absurd that the US is in bed with this ‘prince’ who mercilessly bombs Yemen, shakes down Saudi businessmen, captured the Lebanese prime minister, concocted a rift with Qatar and even kidnapped his own mother. The Saudi monarchy also jails and beheads dissidents, discriminates against the Shia minority, and forces women to live under a repressive male guardianship system. It is not a regime the United States should be arming and abetting.”
Additional speakers included:
- Larry Goldbetter, National Writers Union
- Sal Altaheri, Office of City Council Member Justin Brannan
Take a look at my livestream video of the event with William Hartung speaking at min 2:11 –
Posted by Cat Watters on Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Rabyaah Althaibani speaks on the livestream video above at min 10.
You can see Larry’s LinkedIn for more information on him or see him speak on my livestream video above at min 11:30.
You can see NYC Mayor De Blasio entering City Hall during the rally at min 16:45 of the livestream video above.
Here is some information about the event from Fedbook event invite:
ACTION: Protest organizers demand the US end all support for the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen. In Washington DC, demonstrations will take place at various venues associated with the Crown Prince’s visit. The protesters are focusing on the Crown Prince’s key role in the bombing of Yemen, and seek to debunk the narrative that he is a reformer who is fighting corruption and bringing a new age of enlightenment to the kingdom. New York protesters today asked Mayor Bill de Blasio to speak out against the Crown Prince’s visit and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) to immediately announce their support for the Sanders-Lee-Murphy resolution to withdraw US support for the Saudi military aggressions in Yemen. They thanked the Mayor and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (N-NY) for announcing their support for the Sanders-Lee-Murphy.
BACKGROUND: The war in Yemen is creating what the UN describes as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis: thousands of civilian deaths, untold hunger, and the worst cholera outbreak in recorded history with over one million suspected cases by the end of 2017. This crisis has been deeply exacerbated by the Saudi-led military intervention and blockade, which has received critical support from both the Obama and Trump administrations in the form of arms sales, targeting assistance, intelligence sharing, and mid-air refueling of Saudi bombers. US bombs have been used in Yemen against markets, hospitals, funeral halls, and residential neighborhoods. This support has never been authorized by Congress.
Despite Saudi Arabia’s reported measures to provide humanitarian relief, humanitarian and commercial access remains highly restricted. It is against this backdrop that the chief architect of the Saudi intervention, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is visiting the US. Meanwhile Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Chris Murphy (D-CT) have introduced a bill to end the unauthorized role of US forces in the Saudi-led war on Yemen. The bill is expected to be debated Tuesday or Wednesday.
*The DC events are being organized by CODEPINK: Women for Peace, Peace Action, Just Foreign Policy and World Beyond War.
**The NYC protest was organized by Yemeni-American community activists and Action Corps NYC, and was co-hosted by various organizations, including New York and New Jersey chapters of Veterans For Peace, Peace Committee of 15th St. Quakers, Peace Action New York State, Anti-War Working Group of Democratic Socialists of America NYC Chapter, Coalition to End the U.S.-Saudi Alliance, MPower Change, War Resisters League, CODEPINK and Just Foreign Policy. The protest was endorsed by the NYC Metro Raging Grannies and Granny Peace Brigade.
Our Demands for Our Mayor and US Senators:
1) Speak Out Against Saudi Crown Prince Visit to NYC.
2) Declare Your Support Sanders-Lee Yemen Resolution (Senate Joint Resolution 54).
The Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, is coming to NYC in the last week of March. Bin Salman is the chief architect of a three-year-long bombing campaign against Saudi Arabia’s neighbor, Yemen. This war is creating the world’s worst humanitarian crisis: thousands of civilian deaths, untold hunger, and a cholera outbreak with a million victims in 2017 alone. Both the Obama and Trump administrations have provided critical support to bin Salman’s war, including arms sales, targeting assistance, and mid-air refueling of Saudi bombers.
This support has never been authorized by Congress. We must end our ongoing support for the war on Yemen.
Join us at 8:45am on Tuesday 3/20 in front of City Hall as we call on Mayor de Blasio to condemn the Saudi Prince’s visit. Call Congress at 1-833-STOP-WAR (786-7927). Tell your senator to support the Sanders-Lee bill, S.J.Res.54, which uses the War Powers Act to end U.S. support for the illegal war on Yemen.
Join the vigil, every Sat. at 11am in Union Square, NYC.