Marching for peace at the Naval & Military Park
With the National Women's March on the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. over the weekend, local supporters rallied Sunday at the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park to oppose what they called the "Military-Industrial Complex."
"I hammer out danger. I hammer out a warning. I hammer out love between my brothers and my sisters..." they sang.
About two dozen anti-war protestors reached back to Vietnam War protests, as a coalition of local organizations joined in solidarity with the national Women's March on the Pentagon. The event was timed to coincide with the 51st anniversary of the 1967 march on the Pentagon.
"No mas. No more. We are here to stop the war," they chanted.
A series of speakers said they are confronting what they call the "bipartisan war machine," arguing both Republicans and Democrats are responsible for the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the vast military budget that has stationed military around the world and supported a mammoth defense contractor network.
"There's no question in any of our minds whether or not we believe that Donald Trump has to be ripped out by the roots," said activist Ellie Dorritie, "and everybody who backs him, all of his defenders, have to learn a very serious lesson about which side we're on and which is in our interest."
They chose the Naval & Military Park as the site of their protest because they are seeking to shift the money going into the Defense Department for overseas war to social programs and infrastructure here in the states. Garrett, from the International Action Center, argued relying on elections for solutions is futile.
"Elections will matter when Black Lives Matter," he said. "The system is incapable of ending racist police terror and mass incarceration because the prison-industrial complex is massively profitable for them - and it links into the cheap production of logistical military supplies."
Speakers said war and its violence makes women the victims, whether here at home or in places like Yemen where U.S. ally Saudi Arabia bombs schools and hospitals, killing women and children.
"Disparaging a woman's sexuality and destroying her physical integrity has become a means by which to terrorize, demean and defeat entire communities, as well as to punish, intimidate and humiliate women," said Marie Shuster. "The war machine encourages trafficking of women for profit and control. Women's bodies are spoils of war, abused and discarded."