Hundreds of activists march in US against RIMPAC war games being held in Hawai'i

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This article is available in Pilipino

Hundreds of activists, mostly from the International Cancel RIMPAC Campaign, took to the streets in San Diego, California on June 30 to call for the cancellation of the Rim of Pacific war games taking place in Hawaii and its surrounding waters. The protest was led by the Resist US-led War Movement, BAYAN-USA, and the International Women’s Alliance.

One of the participants from Anakbayan Hawaii, Misty Pegram, recounted the ongoing abuses by American soldiers on the island. “The (US) Navy has poisoned the water at Kapūkakī, or Red Hill, and failed to hold themselves accountable and attend community oversight meetings formed between the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Navy and the Defense Logistics Agency,” she said.

The 25th Infantry Brigade of the US Army has been desecrating 20,000 acres (over 8 hectares) of land in Wahiawā for 65 years, paying only $1 the entire time. This same unit has been deployed to the Philippines to train the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in counterinsurgency campaigns that kill farmers and workers, she added.

According to the organizers, RIMPAC is a nothing but a spectacle where the US military showcases its weapons and equipment to drive up arms sales to its allies and partners, forge repressive military treaties, and further expand US control over trade, resources, labor and investment in the Pacific region.

RIMPAC is the world’s largest war games hosted by the US Navy. This year, 29 countries are participating, involving over 25,000 troops, 39 ships and three submarines.

Israel’s Zionist regime is among its regular participants. The AFP first joined in 2022, bringing the BRP Antonio Luna, named after a general who fought and died in the Philippine-American War. This year, the Philippines only sent observers because “all its ships are busy.”

A day prior to the march, activists held a full-day Cancel RIMPAC Summit on June 29 attended by 700 people in-person and watched by more online. The assembly discussed the history and aims of RIMPAC, as well as the damage and danger it poses to the environment, livelihoods of the people, sovereignty and security of Hawaii and other countries and islands in the Pacific. Keynote speaker Joy Enomoto, executive director of Hawaii Peace and Justice, an organization pushing for the demilitarization of Hawaii, addressed the summit.

The summit also tackled the struggles of various peoples against US imperialism, from Palestine, to India, to the armed revolution in the Philippine countryside.

On July 1, Filipino-American activists picketed the office of Rep. Darell Issa in San Diego, California to urge the representative to support the call to cancel RIMPAC, reject US instigation of imperialist wars in various parts of the world, including the South China Sea where it is dragging the Philippines into its confrontation with China.

AB: Hundreds of activists march in US against RIMPAC war games being held in Hawai'i