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Anti-war protesters in Oakland call for U.S. to stop arming Ukraine

Anti-war protesters in Oakland call for U.S. to stop arming Ukraine
Anti-war protesters in Oakland call for U.S. to stop arming Ukraine 03:02

OAKLAND (KPIX) -- In Oakland Saturday, the anti-war group Code Pink joined members of the Democratic Socialists of America for a joint rally outside the Grand Lake Theatre. Demonstrators held signs and passed out flyers calling for an end to the war in Ukraine.

"As the war drags on, there's more and more of a danger of it escalating, even to the point of nuclear war," said Bert Knorr with the DSA. "So, this is something we need to take seriously. This could be the beginning of how the world ends."

The protestors were not appealing for the U.S. to help the Ukrainians. Instead, they believe that not giving the Ukrainians the arms they're asking for will hasten an end to the war.

"If that money flow stops, the war will come to an end because both sides will sit down and negotiate," said Code Pink coordinator Eleanor Levine. "I don't think that the Russians are that interested in war either."

The protesters said sending in more weapons would only add fuel to the fire. Despite all the pictures of destruction, all the loss of civilian lives, there are those who simply don't want to believe what their eyes are seeing.

As he walked past the protesters, Steve Schiesser said he thought a lot of it is simply made up.

"I'm not saying the Russians have never done anything bad. They probably have done a lot of things, probably," he said. "OK, I know they've done bad things. I know they bombed people. Whether they targeted civilians or not, I think that's also part of a propaganda war."

Even among the protesters, there was a difference of opinion.

Nathalie Musson of Orinda joined the demonstration, wearing Ukraine's colors on earrings she had specially made.

"I get excited when I see Zelenskyy and then I start crying," she said, her voice choked with emotion. "So, it's really, really hard."

She's also torn. She doesn't want to see the war escalate but she thinks Ukrainians have a right to defend their country from invasion and need the world's help to do it.

"We cannot let him run over people and take their land, no. It's a genocidal war right now," Musson said.

Despite what her fellow protesters were saying, she didn't have faith that Vladimir Putin is interested in negotiating anything.

"Not with that monster, not with that monster. It's like having diplomacy with Hitler."

Peace rallies were held in cities all over the country on Saturday in a "Global Day of Action." In the Bay Area, there were demonstrations scheduled in Oakland, San Francisco, Berkeley, San Mateo and Santa Cruz.

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