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Activists Come To Chicago To Protest War On Drugs

Caravan For Peace

Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26th) addresses reporters at a news conference by the Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity, which has come to Chicago to protest the War on Drugs. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Activists are in Chicago Tuesday to voice their opposition to the War on Drugs.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Brandis Friedman reports, the Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity is making its way from San Diego to Washington, D.C., spreading its message.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Brandis Friedman reports

That message, as heard Tuesday in a news conference at City Hall, is, “Drugs are bad, but the War on Drugs is worse.”

The group of Mexican and American nationals says the decades-old War on Drugs compares to alcohol prohibition in the 1920s, and pointed out that Prohibition turned Chicago into a hub of Mafia crime at the time.

Among the participants in the caravan was Javier Sicilia, whose son was murdered along with six others in March 2011.

He spoke through an interpreter, “Eighty years later, despite Prohibition, this phenomenon has been reproduced – but even more brutally, and on an international scale.”

The caravan has support from the group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, which argues for decriminalizing drugs and allowing the government to regulate and control them.

Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26th) also spoke in support of the group.

“(Sicilia’s son) Juan Francisco was a victim of the failed War on Drugs – which I know is a failed War on Drugs – as are many of the family and the friends you see here today that have joined together to stop this crime against humanity,” Maldonado said.

Maldonado plans to introduce a resolution in the City Council welcoming the caravan to Chicago, and resolving to participate in the network of organizations dedicated to pressure the federal government to eliminate the violent drug trade.

The caravan will make stops in Cleveland, New York, and Baltimore before arriving in Washington, D.C.