Local anti-war activists visited the U.S. Consulate in
Chiang Mai on Friday, 19th March to commemorate the
seven-year anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq on 20th
March. Chiang Mai residents from, Australia, Japan, Philippines and Thailand,
met officers at the U.S. Consulate and warned the U.S. to stop its military
offensive in the name of “War on Terror” carried out in Iraq, Afghanistan
and Pakistan as well as in Palestine by the Israeli forces.
“Military spending is the greatest contributor to the US
Federal budget deficit and to the hostility of people around the World. If
the US were to follow the example of Costa Rica and dismantle its military,
it would quickly become the most loved of the World’s nations.” said Ricky
Ward, from Australia.
The group also raised the issue of the US military base
stationed in Okinawa , Japan . The two governments are currently negotiating
the status of the US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.
“The Futenma base should not be retained nor relocated
anywhere else. It has to be dismantled. That is the opinion of the people’s
movement in Okinawa”, said Tomoko Kashiwazaki, from Japan. “Militarism
always directly link with violence and discrimination against women. There
have been cases of rape and sexual harassment committed by U.S. military
personnel in Okinawa in which abusers were not held responsible due to the
Status Forces Agreement,” she added. A mass rally, called “World Peace Now”
is going to be organised on the 20th March in Tokyo ,
The letter of statement was delivered also to the office
of the Mayor of Chiang Mai, located across from the U.S. Consulate, to raise
his awareness of the concerns of Chiang Mai citizens.
“We need to raise more awareness of a new generation of
local people on the impact of the US militarism on Thailand and the
Southeast Asia,” said Navarat Nophiran from Thailand .
Maeanne Llanza from the Philippines added that the US
policy of so-called “War on Terror” has been affecting the Philippine
government, which has killed a number of human rights activists profiling
them as “terrorists”.
U.S. Consulate General response: The United States
strongly supports the democratic principle of the freedom of speech.Peaceful
demonstrations are a hallmark of a democratic society. Many people share
their views with the U.S. Government, and we routinely talk to a wide array
of individuals and organizations.