International Day of Protest

Report from: Andover

By Jane Cadarette


Attached is a copy of the article that appeared in the Eagle-Tribune Newspaper after the demonstration at Raytheon Oct. 12 in Andover, MA.

Below is my brief description of the event and also another article that appeared in the North Andover Citizen, a weekly paper, the morning of the demonstration.

It was a beautiful fall day in Massachusetts for a demonstration.  There was a nonviolent protest at the Andover, MA Raytheon Plant from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. in solidarity with the International Protests against the militarization of  space.  

And it was peaceful except for those cars beeping and waving in approval and the  shouts of profanity or the typical "get  a  job" yell from a handful of the hundreds of cars going by.  The police  from  Haverhill,  North Andover, Andover and other neighboring communities waiting with company security personnel were not needed yet remained just in case. The presence of  police dog/s was not evident until  barking was heard as one cruiser drove away.  

Those gathered held posters and banners. A sampling:   NO TO FULL SPECTRUM DOMINANCE;  KEEP SPACE FOR PEACE; NO STAR WARS; NO WAR;  one with the heading of GOD MADE THE HEAVENS  showed a missile labeled Raytheon's  EKV (Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle).

A horrifying banner had the words  NO  NO  WAR WAR  positioned about a crouching skeleton, its bony right arm upraised as if the person it had been was attempting to ward off death.

Two people were in very tall puppet costumes, one dressed as the Sun and the other as the Moon. Another protester dressed in an American bald eagle costume.

There were close to 40 people at the peak of the demonstration which consisted of a period of silence, followed by drumming and song and a closing

circle at the end of the demonstration to pray for the Raytheon employees, especially those employees who were  killed on Sept. 11, and for all who needed  prayers. Individuals announced their names and towns.  Most were from Massachusetts and  New Hampshire with some from Connecticut.

There was another brief article in the weekly "Andover Townsman" on Thurs. which I will send on to you if you would like. Below is the article from the N. And.Citizen.

Peace and joy,

Jane Cadarette
 


A call for peace
Merrimack Valley group espouses nonviolent approach to terrorism
By Craig Douglas

Correspondent, North Andover Citizen

As our nation's armed forces continue to pound targets in Afghanistan, another group of Americans is busy preparing for a separate battle of their own.  Today, Oct. 12, a contingent of anti-war activists will be mobilizing a peaceful protest in front of the Raytheon Corporation plant on Route 133 in Andover.

Among the protesters' primary messages will be a voiced opposition to the Bush administration's plans for missile defense as well as a call for peace and diplomacy in light of the ongoing war against terrorism.

Sponsored by the Raytheon Peacemakers, today's rally will nearly coincide with an International Day of Action being recognized around the world.

"Our association is just one of over 250 other groups that will be gathering throughout the global community." said Claire Schaeffer-Duffy, an organizer within the Raytheon Peacemakers. "This has been anticipated for some time...we are eager to deliver our message to the American public, to the employees at Raytheon and to our congressional leaders in Washington."

A collective group of local residents who oppose nuclear weapons and the militarization of out space, the Raytheon Peacemakers will join forces with members of the Merrimack Valley People for Peace and numerous other anti-war advocates to bring their message to the public's attention.

"Those advocating a nonviolent stance are often misunderstood,” said Jane Cadarette, a North Andover resident and board member of People for Peace. "Many think it is advocating doing nothing.  Not so. Nonviolence is a very active stance against evil. Had we all put the will, effort, brain power, money, education, research and development into resolving conflict, and not using military force, as though our lives depended on it, which they do, we might not be in the grave situation we are in now."

Group opposes weapons in space

Operating as a manufacturing facility for two of the U.S. military's missile defense initiatives, Raytheon's Andover plant will be the focal point of the Peacemaker's efforts today. According to a spokesperson for the company, Raytheon had no comment relative to the planned protests.

Although the events on September 11 have increased the vigilance among the anti-war community, plans for the International Day of Action were initiated this summer by the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space.  Founded in 1992, the Global Network has grown quickly from its original headquarters in Washington, D.C.  The group aims to educate the public about issues concerning space and nuclear weapons.

Due to the Global Network's efforts, there are protests being organized at nearly 100 locations around the world.  Although the International Day of Action is actually scheduled to take place tomorrow, Oct. 13, the Raytheon Peacemakers have decided to hold their rally the day before in order to appeal to a larger audience.

"We wanted to make sure that Raytheon’s offices were filled with employees,” said Schaeffer-Duffy.

While the rally was originally designed to bring attention to the U.S. government's involvement with both missile defense and its planned militarization of outer space, the current events unfolding in and around Afghanistan will also be a focal point of the rally.

"We feel tremendous grief for the lives lost on September 11th," said Peacemaker member Arthur Brien, also a board member for the Merrimack Valley People for Peace.  "We will most certainly have banners acknowledging the victims of the terrorists acts."

Compared to the Gulf War

According to Brien, whose anti-war efforts date back to America's involvement in operation Desert Storm, there are many similarities between the current situation in Afghanistan and America's prior war in the Persian Gulf.

"We need to help the Afghan people with basic needs like food, infrastructure and electricity. After bombing Iraq's water systems, electricity systems, hospitals and schools, we now have at least 5,000 children dying each month from malnutrition and other avoidable ailments.  The citizens within these countries need to be treated with justice, not more violence.

"The United States needs to realize that the most effective way to undermine these terrorist organizations is to assist the people suffering within their borders. Because of our relatively small population and extraordinarily high consumption of resources, there is great animosity towards our country...these people simply want a piece of the pie."

Brien was also quick to mention that today's planned protest needs to remain true to its original purpose.

"Yes, we disagree with military action in Afghanistan...but we also need to bring attention to the fact that our government is spending billions of dollars on a missile defense system that’s been proven not to work." he said.  "These actions undermine all of the treaties and diplomatic efforts of prior administrations and are only going to lead to a modern-age arms race.  We have an obligation to battle evil. We are organizing to let people know that Raytheon is helping to build what we believe to be evil products."

Along with numerous demonstrators, from the Massachusetts and New Hampshire areas, Bryan expects the event to remain peaceful and within the guidelines of the law.

"We will be singing and chanting and holding signs...it will be done peacefully and will be conducted on public property,” he said.

Given the publicized criticisms of missile defense -most notably by Rep. John Tierney - the Raytheon Peacemakers will undoubtedly focus their protests around the escalating costs, lack of effectiveness and threats to social services that the missile defense program presents.

To date, the United States has spent approximately $148 billion on the largely unsuccessful program. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the defense plan will cost the United States an additional $270 billion over the next two decades and that it costs the country $100 million every time the system is tested. With the nation's economy hovering on the verge of recession and increased pressure being imposed upon the nation's social services, the Peacemakers want to bring awareness to the economic consequences presented by the U.S. government’s commitment to "Star Wars."

Peacemakers optimistic

In light of both the recent terrorist attacks on America and the war campaign being waged in Afghanistan, many organizers are optimistic that, if properly presented, the Peacemaker’s message will be well received.

"While we laud the Bush Administration for their restraint thus far, people need to realize that a military campaign means that many people will die." Schaeffer-Duffy said. “The United States has a unique opportunity to show the rest of the world that we have felt the trauma from the death of innocent civilians and that we will not engage in similar action...that we insist that other nations follow our example of peace and diplomacy.

"We see our country's mission to militarize space as a step in the wrong direction...the United States needs to be moving to disarm itself and other nations. This is not the time to escalate the production of weapons of mass destruction. That is certainly one of the main messages that we are trying to establish."

Cadarette put it in a more personal fashion: "I would be violating my conscience to approve military action. It's my right and freedom as an American and as a Christian to believe as I do."


12 October 12, 2001
Protesters: No weapons in space
By Jim Patten
Eagle-Tribune Writer

ANDOVER -- Dressed as the sun, the moon and the American bald eagle, about 25 peace protesters waived banners and beat drums this morning in front of Raytheon to protest the weaponization of space.

As traffic slowed to a crawl on fog-shrouded Route 133, Raytheon employees entering the plant responded to the protesters in a variety of ways.

Raytheon protesters Steven Baer of Worcester and Joe deRivera of Spencer hold signs during a protest outside Raytheon's main entrance this morning.

One man in a Ford Explorer slowed down, rolled down his window and yelled, "Go protest terrorism!"

A man in a sports car and another in an aging Dodge pickup truck made gestures with their hands. Still others averted their gaze from the protesters.

"I wouldn't expect otherwise," said Claire Duffy of Worcester, spokesman for the Raytheon Peacemakers. "Massachusetts has become so dependent on the military industrial complex, but it doesn't have to be that way."

Katherine Robinson of the Merrimack Valley People for Peace said: "Of course we are concerned about star wars. We are opposed to the weaponization of space. We are aware that Raytheon makes some components of the star wars system."

Both Duffy and Robinson said that today's demonstration was not targeted at the events of Sept. 11.

"This protest was planned before the 11th," Robinson said. "We've been working on this one over the summer."

Duffy said the protesters were at Raytheon because Oct. 13 is an international day of protest to stop the militarization of space.

She said similar protests will occur today at a radar site on Cape Cod. Tomorrow a Raytheon Peacemakers group from Arizona will be demonstrating in front of a Raytheon plant in that state, she said.

Asked why they chose to demonstrate today instead of tomorrow, Duffy said: "We are here today because this is when the employees would be present."

Andover Police Chief Brian Pattullo estimated the crowd of protesters to number about 25.

"We've got 25 protesters and 25 cops," he said. "We're just here to ensure the safety of the people entering the plant and the protesters."

He added that police were not concerned about violence, and that the protesters were peaceful.

One platoon of the Northeast Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council Regional Response Team was on standby at a secret location in the event any problems did arise.

Duffy also said that the protest was one of dozens planned across the globe by the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, a Gainsville, Fla., group.



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