Protesters ask Obama to stop Pakistan’s threat against India

January 21st, 2009 - 11:52 am ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Jan 21 (IANS) Amidst all the jubilation surrounding Barack Obama’s inauguration, there were some protesters too, with one group asking the new president to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and Pakistan’s threat against India. Protesters from the Coalition for Peace, consisting of some Jewish, Hindu and Christian organisations, hung signs along a fence in Lafayette Park across the White House, demanding an end to Islamic radicalism and Middle East oil imports.

The group also expressed its support for Israel’s invasion of Gaza. One of the group’s leaders said the message was not so much a protest but a plea.

“It is directed toward Barack Obama in that we want him to make a clear statement to stop Iran’s march to nuclear weapons and Pakistan’s threat against India,” Marion Dreyfus of the coalition said through a police fence separating the park from the street. “We are also supporting Israel against the aggression of Hamas in Gaza.”

There were a number of other groups and individuals who came to the inaugural festivities to have their causes heard.

Code Pink, the liberal women’s group, passed out hundreds of pink ribbons asking the new president to “stand up for peace”.

Amnesty International staged a small demonstration outside a metro station to protest the seventh anniversary of the opening of the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

On Connecticut Avenue, one of the city’s major thoroughfares, someone parked a truck towing a large sign demanding a single-payer healthcare system.

Outside the Swiss Embassy near the National Cathedral, a small cluster of anti-homosexual activists from the Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas held up signs protesting gay marriage and gay rights.

Some advocates of gay rights booed when the Rev. Rick Warren of California’s Saddleback Church delivered the invocation. Warren, one of the nation’s best-known evangelical preachers, opposes gay marriage.

Then there were those who raised their voices just to express happiness at the departure of former President George W. Bush. Some boos could be heard in the crowd gathered on the mall when Vice President Dick Cheney and Bush were introduced for Obama’s swearing-in.

And when it was over, a chant of “na na na na, hey hey, goodbye” arose from some among the throng on the Mall as Bush’s helicopter flew by carrying him to Andrews Air Force Base and on to his retirement in Texas.

In the streets surrounding the parade route, an occasional anti-Bush sign could be seen, protesting his treatment of the Kurds in Iraq or just urging him to get out of town. Some along the parade route held signs demanding that Bush be indicted.

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