Anti War Protest Targets Costa - Day 1
The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) protested at Democratic Congressman Jim Costa’s office today. They were protesting against Costa’s ongoing support of the war and occupation in Iraq. This is the first of a series of demonstrations at the Congressman’s office this month, coordinated by several local anti war groups.
WILPF, MoveOn.org, Codepink, and Peace Fresno have announced that they will be working together to pressure Democratic Representative Jim Costa to vote NO on the September war funding bill which would continue the occupation of Iraq. Each group has taken one day a week to picket in front of Costa's office to demand an end to the war/occupation.
Jean Hays, the chairperson of WILPF, delivered a statement to the District Director of Costa’s office, Chris Rosander. The statement said that “pro-war senators and representatives are wasting billions of taxpayers’ dollars on the Iraq war, a war that cannot be won. The costs are increasing and there is no end in sight. Despite recent reports to the contrary, the Bush administration’s endless war is taking a huge toll on our military, military families, and local communities.” The statement said that taxpayers in Costa’s district have paid $602 million to fund the Iraq war.
About two dozen protestors were on the sidewalk in front of Costa’s office in downtown Fresno (across from the Exhibit Hall). The Raging Grannies joined the protestors and sang songs of peace. Shortly before 1 PM about a dozen protestors decided to go into Costa’s office and deliver their anti-war message directly to the staff (Costa was not in Fresno today). The arrival of the demonstrators in the Congressman’s office seemed to catch the staff off guard. The protestors were asked to wait until Rosander was free to meet with them. During the 30 minute wait, the Raging Grannies practiced their songs, including one they wrote especially for Costa.
Rosander greeted all of the protestors and listened as each person explained why they were against the war. Several people demanded that Costa vote against approving any more funding for the war/occupation of Iraq. Rosander did not make any commitments about how Costa might vote, but he did say that he would deliver the protestors anti-war message to the Congressman.
Tomorrow, Peace Fresno is organizing the demonstration at Costa’s office. Peace Fresno president Bill Simon, in a message just sent (by email) to that groups members, wrote “WILPF had an impressive demonstration in front of Costa's office at lunch time today. There was good media coverage. When I left at 1:30, a delegation was still in Costa's office waiting to meet with his representative. Tomorrow, Wednesday, is Peace Fresno's turn. We will be at Costa's office every Wednesday in September, 855 M St., from noon until 1:00 pm. We are still in need of additional people to have a credible presence. If you can join us tomorrow between noon and 1:00, please come.”
MoveOn.org is coordinating the demonstration on Thursday. Nancy Griesser, one of the main coordinators of MoveOn.org in Fresno, wrote “for the next three weeks, until the next vote on war funding is cast, a coalition of local groups will be picketing Rep. Jim Costa's office downtown on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, during the noon hour (12:00 to 1:00 pm). WILPF is responsible for Tuesdays, Peace Fresno is doing Wednesdays, and a group of us from MoveOn.org have volunteered to be there on Thursdays. People are encouraged to come on any of those days that work for them. We'll carry signs and hand out Congressional contact information to passers by. The focus is on Costa because he is a Democrat who continues to support funding for the war. If you are interested in participating, please let me know either by calling (559) 325-1616 or emailing me at nancyg [at] csufresno.edu . It is especially important for us to enlist people who live in Costa's district for this action so please be sure to let us know if you are a Costa constituent or if you are a veteran.”
For earlier coverage about how peace groups in Fresno have united in a strategic effort to target Democratic Representative Jim Costa to stop funding the war & and occupation in Iraq, see: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2007/09/10/18446654.php