Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, outside the McNamara Federal Building, December 30, 2006. The Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice had called for a demonstration against the lynching of Saddam Hussein.
Originally uploaded by Pan-African News Wire File Photos.
12/30/2006, 8:07 p.m. ET
By VERENA DOBNIK
The Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — Groups of Americans opposed to either the death penalty or U.S. foreign policy decried Saddam Hussein's execution on Saturday, including a few dozen activists who protested in Times Square and a handful who demonstrated in Boston.
The small rallies, led by a group affiliated with former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, was one of several condemnations of the hanging. The Vatican denounced the execution as "tragic." Activists in Detroit also demonstrated.
Standing on a downtown Detroit street in front of a building that houses FBI offices, 15 anti-war demonstrators withstood chilly temperatures to call on Congress to end the war in Iraq and denounce Saddam's execution.
Members of the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War and Injustice waved to honking motorists and onlookers for about an hour as they held signs that read: "Bring the Troops Home," "Money for our City, Not for War," and "Execution Escalation. U.S. Troops out of Iraq."
"We are here to express our deepest regret and condemnation for what the Bush administration has done," said group leader Abayomi Azikiwe. "It was set up to deflect attention away from the 3,000 soldiers that have been killed. This is not going to do anything to end the war, it's going to escalate it."
A night earlier, about 200 Iraqi-Americans gathered outside a mosque in the suburb of Dearborn to celebrate reports that Saddam had been executed, cheering and crying as drivers honked horns in jubilation.
Clark, who leads the New York-based International Action Center and was one of Saddam's defense lawyers, predicted during the Iraqi leader's trial that a bloodbath would follow if he was executed. In a statement faxed to The Associated Press, the center said his hanging was part of a plan by President Bush to escalate the war.
At least 68 people died and more than 130 were wounded in two bombings in Iraq following the execution, which took place just before the start of one of the holiest Islamic holidays, Eid al-Adha.
At the Times Square rally, which occurred near a military recruiting station, protester Sara Flounders held up a sign that read "Execution Escalation."
"We didn't need this execution. Saddam should have been jailed," said the Rev. Joel Jang, a Presbyterian minister from Flushing, Queens.
The demonstrators gathered behind a police barricade outside the recruiting station, which has been a magnet for anti-war protests. The rally did not disrupt the flow of tourists or preparations for Sunday's massive New Year's Eve celebration.
In Boston, about five protesters stood in light snow outside of the Marine Corps recruiting building and passed out printed statements to the few people that walked by. Protesters referred to the execution of Saddam as U.S. sponsored murder. They also called for an immediate withdrawal of American troops from Iraq.
Making no claims about Saddam's guilt or innocence, Steve Kirschbaum, a member of the International Action Center, said the execution was a "serious violation of international law ... a legal lynching."
Saddam's execution has led to mixed reactions in the United States, with plenty of Americans — including many Iraqi-Americans — saying it was justice well served.
Clark, a former Marine who served as attorney general for three years in the 1960s, has assailed the trial. He said the Iraqi Special Tribunal — trained and funded by the United States — is an illegal entity and did not follow proper legal procedures.
"The execution of Saddam Hussein is a clear sign that the Bush administration is looking not to negotiate a way for the U.S. to leave Iraq, but is instead sending a signal that it will continue the war and escalate it despite the impending disaster," the International Action Center said in a written statement.
Associated Press writers Brandie M. Jefferson in Boston and Ron Vample in Detroit contributed to this report.
IAC Statement on the Execution of Saddam Hussein
The International Action Center urges activists to organize local actions in response to the execution of Saddam Hussein and the continuing occupation of Iraq. Check the IAC website http://www.iacenter.org for updates on protests and other activities.
The International Action Center (IAC) hold the U.S. government responsible for the decision of the “Iraqi High Tribunal" to carry out the death sentence against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and considers this execution part of the Bush administration’s plan to once again escalate the war. The timing of the execution was clearly intended to pre-empt news that the death toll of U.S. service people has hit 3,000 while that of Iraqis is in the hundreds of thousands. Such an execution will be another war crime against the Iraqi people.
As we have made clear in prior statements and articles, the IAC does not consider the capture, trial and judgment of the Iraqi president to be legal under international, U.S. or Iraqi law.* This punishment has nothing to do with the alleged crimes of the Iraqi leader nor is it part of an historical judgment of his role. It is the act of a conquering power against a nation that is occupied against the will not only of its 2003 legal government but also against the will of the vast majority of its people.
No authoritative human rights body, including those who were and are opponents and severely hostile to President Saddam Hussein such as the Human Rights Watch, considers his trial fair or the sentence just (see Dec. 27, 2006 statement).
Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, a founder of the IAC, who was part of the defense team for Saddam Hussein, told the media after hearing of the plan to execute that "SaddamHussein and his co-defendants are in the custody of the U.S. military in Iraq. They will be turned over to Iraq only on the order of or with the approval of President Bush. His pending decision will have long term consequences for the peace and stability of Iraq, and for the rule of law as a means to peace."
The Bush administration is preparing to announce its “new strategy” toward Iraq. This follows the November mid-term elections, which were an anti-war statement by the U.S. electorate. It follows the publication of the Iraq Study Group’s report, which was a recognition that the U.S. occupation of Iraq had collapsed and that disaster was near.
The execution of Saddam Hussein is a clear sign that the Bush administration is looking not to negotiate a way for the U.S. to leave Iraq, but is instead sending a signal that it will continue the war and escalate it despite the impending disaster. This conclusion is all the more obvious, as it accompanies the news out of Iraq that U.S. and puppet Iraqi troops are attacking, arresting and killing members and leaders of the Mahdi Army, led by Moqtada al-Sadr.
We in the IAC say no to the execution of Saddam Hussein and his co-defendants, no to the escalation of the Iraq war that will mean more deaths for Iraqis and for U.S. troops and for an intensified mobilization to stop the occupation of Iraq. We applaud the decision of the MECAWI organization in Michigan to call a protest outside of the McNamara Federal Building at 4:30 PM on the day the lynching of Saddam Hussein is set to be carried out.
The following are URLS for prior statements on the trial and impending execution of Saddam Hussein and other Iraqi leaders:
Illegal and unfair trials of President Saddam Hussein and others by the Iraqi Special Tribunal...
October 10, 2006 Memorandum with Exhibits for Each...
URL: http://www.iacenter.org/Iraq/hussein-2-102006.htm - 25KB - 14 Oct 2006
Verdict of the U.S. Occupation Court
Verdict of the U.S. Occupation Court - International Action Center Statement - November 06-06
URL: http://www.iacenter.org/Iraq/hussein_verdict-11-2006.htm - 9KB - 08 Nov 2006
Demonize to Colonize
Demonize to Colonize by Ramsey Clark "In the determination of any criminal charge ... everyone shall be entitled to a fair and public hearing by...
http://www.iacenter.org/Iraq/rc-demonize2004.htm - 19KB - 28 Nov 2005
Ramsey Clark: Why I'm Willing to Defend Hussein
Why I'm Willing to Defend Hussein by Ramsey Clark Published on Monday, January 24, 2005 by the Los Angeles Times Late last month, I traveled...
http://www.iacenter.org/Iraq/rc_whydefend-sh012405.htm - 13KB - 28 Nov 2005
The Trial of Saddam Hussein / Anti-war Movement Must Reject Colonial 'Justice'
The Trial of Saddam Hussein / Anti-war Movement Must Reject Colonial 'Justice' Le procès de Saddam, justice coloniale By Sara Flounders,...
http://www.iacenter.org/Iraq/iraq_shtrial2005.htm - 34KB - 28 Jan 2006
Statement From the Anti-Imperialist Camp
1) Saddam turned martyr
A symbol cannot be killed
The press conference by which the imperator expressed his cruel congratulations to the hanging of Saddam Hussein leaves no doubt about the real author of this political homicide. Saddam was in American hands. It was them to arrest him and keep him in custody. Only after being sure that he will be executed they consigned him to their lackeys.
But by killing a man they could not kill a symbol. A symbol of irreducible and uncompromising hostility to imperial arrogance of American neo-colonialism. The emblem Saddam is even more dangerous as he was not only a rebel but a head of a state which demonstrated until the end that he is not ready to bog down before the occupiers. Far away from half-heartedly trying to bargain for his personal survival he never gave in to the hypocrite arguments of the invaders.
They turned Saddam into a martyr of the Iraqi liberation struggle. He will serve as a example for all anti-imperialist fighters for his tenacity and steadfastness.
They hoped to exemplarily punish those who do not lick their boots. They wanted to demonstrate the world that there is no remote corner which escapes their vengeance. What they actually achieved it to increase the hate of the peoples against them.
The world has understood the message. The wretched will know to redeem getting rid of the civilisation of death of which the US has become the most bloody paladin.
December 30, 2006
2) Bangladeshi protest against the killing of Saddam
By the National Liberation Council
On December 30, 4pm, we, National Liberation Council of Bangladesh, organised a protest meeting in the capital city Dhaka against Iraqi President Saddam's killing. This protest meeting was presided by Faiezul Hakim, secretary of the National Liberation Council.
Faiez said "by killing of president Saddam Hussain, US imperialism want to destroy Iraq." He also said "now Saddam is the symbol of anti imperialists". After the protest meeting a protest possession was held. Beside us, many organization also made protest rally.