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Military resister to highlight Vermont anti-war rally

By Shay Totten | Vermont Guardian

MONTPELIER — Hundreds of Vermonters are expected at a demonstration Saturday in front of the Statehouse to demand that Vermont’s elected representatives call on Pres. Bush to immediately remove all troops from Iraq.

The 2 p.m. rally will feature Pablo Paredes, a Navy Petty officer who, in 2004, refused to board an Iraq-bound ship because he did not believe the invasion of Iraq was justified. Eventually, his case went to court, a judge ruled in Paredes’ favor, and he was given an honorable discharge from the Navy. He is now trying to register as a conscientious objector.

Paredes, who grew up in the Bronx, NY, and currently lives in California, told the Guardian that is looking forward to being in Vermont, and has been watching the progress of last year’s Town Meeting Day resolutions.

Last year, 48 towns voted in favor of some form of the measure calling on the state to examine the impact that the large call-up of Vermont National Guard troops has on Vermont, its resources and its families. Legislation was subsequently introduced in the House and made its way to the House floor before a fractured vote channeled it back to committee, where it remains.

“I, as many others who work for peace, have noticed the absence of true democracy in our country best represented in the outcome of the recent town meetings, here in Vermont,

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