Diplomacy better than bombs rally set for Saturday

About 1,000 Juneau residents signed this ad published in December 2002. Local peace groups were active then. Concerns about Syria is prompting new interest.

Juneau’s peace groups are re-mobilizing to protest the possible U.S.-led intervention in the war in Syria.

On Saturday, Veterans for Peace and Juneau People for Peace and Justice will lead a march and rally against a possible military strike.

With public opinion running strongly against U.S. involvement in Syria, the peace movement is gaining traction again across the country.

Rich Moniak is helping organize Juneau’s march.

“The peace movement’s been pretty silent since 2008. I think there’s some people that are very disappointed in our president in this move to use military force against Syria, so we’ll see some re-mobilization of the peace groups,” Moniak says.

He says a recent meeting of Juneau People for Peace and Justice – very active during the Iraq war – is seeing new faces.

“We put out a call letter to the small group of regulars we have and we had about 19 people show up,” he says. “You know we’ve been working with four or five core people for a long, long time.”

The mic will be open Saturday for people to express their views on Syria, including the latest proposal for a diplomatic solution to the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

Moniak hopes the message will be heard in Washington and the need to demonstrate the desire for peace doesn’t end when the rally is over.

“You have to have numbers out there. You know if we’re standing on the street, five or six of us, nobody pays attention. If all of a sudden those numbers jump to 50 or 60, it’s still a demonstration, it’s not a lot of people, but I think the people in congress know that most people don’t want to do this,” Moniak says.

In light of the latest proposal for a diplomatic solution to the use of chemical weapons in Syria, the peace event is dubbed Better than Bombs – the power of diplomacy.

Marchers will begin at the Alaska Department of Labor parking lot at 1 p.m. and go to Marine Park for the rally.