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by IMC Staff
Tuesday, Apr. 01, 2003 at 6:03 AM
A report from todays powerful march and rally.
March 30 rally downtown L.A.
An estimated 20 to 25 thousand people marched against the war in Downtown Los Angeles today in a demonstration organized by the No War on Iraq! coalition.
People gathered on the beautiful sunny Los Angeles day in Pershing Square and marched to the Federal Building with a boisterous energy that gave lie to the idea that the energy around the anti-war movement would falter with the start of the war. If anything, spirits were higher and more unified than ever, with the mostly Latino shopkeepers and shoppers who frequent the Downtown L.A. merchant district, appearing on the sidewalk to smile, cheer, and swap Peace Signs, hands open in the universal “V”, with the passing marchers.
“Stop This War!” and “No a La Guerra!” rang out, with English and Spanish competing for the loudness in anti-war slogan and chanting award. People banged on everything from upside-down plastic buckets to beautiful traditional Japanese drums playing intricate rhythms. Lovely and elegant women in pink carrying the trademark pink parasols of Code Pink Women for Peace were seen weaving their way amidst the crowd, while small children yelled “No War;” their tiny hands ensconced in their proud parent’s larger ones. The Radical Teen Cheer Leaders performed amazing acrobatics in bright red T-shirts on one corner accompanied by loud anti-war cheers, while the Bus Rider’s Union marched proudly and loudly by.
What a day!!!! The broad smiles on everyone’s faces told the story of a huge awareness of how this terrible war has brought communities of people together; not just in Los Angeles, but all around the world. This is the kind of strength and unity it will take to accomplish the goal, not only of stopping the war in Iraq, but also of winning the world back from the corporate stranglehold. Unknowingly and unintentionally Bush et-al has accomplished this in a way he could never have anticipated. Even the huge police presence today could not dampen the victorious spirit.
Speakers at the rally that followed included Senator Jackie Goldberg, who spoke of forcing the Democratic Party to act like Democrats, and Sonali Kolhatkar of the KPFK morning show, who always reminds us to look at the true results of the previous war on the people of Afghanistan when we hear the rhetoric of bringing liberation to the Iraqi people.
Jefferson Azevedo from the Black and Latino Caucus for Justice and Peace urged all members of the African-American and Latino communities to join with them in spreading the word to all minority youth to not fall for military recruitment tactics and to join with them. They can be reached through a link at the www.answerla.org website.
The representative from the Coalition for World Peace called for a “media challenge to demand that broadcast networks be compelled to supply real journalism and a comprehensive balance of news by calling network news teams with these demands. Contact numbers for all the news teams are available at www.colationforworldpeace.org.
Jim Lafferty, announced that a lawsuit has been filed by the National Lawyer’s Guild and the ACLU on behalf of everyone who has suffered any injustice at the hands of the police, and that anyone with information regarding any an all abuses should call 323-852-9190.
Other speakers included Ron Kovic, paraplegic veteran of Vietnam, Margaret Prescodd and Charlotte Watson King of the Women’s March for Peace, and representatives from the SEIU, NION, and the A.N.S.W.E.R coalition. Michelle Shocked, Kerry Getz, and the Radical Teen CheerLeaders supplied entertainment.
The next large rally and march will be held on Sunday April 13th, and will assemble at 12 noon in front of the L.A. Times building at 1st and Spring Streets in Downtown L.A. followed by a march to the Federal Building. For more information go to www.answerla.org, or www.coalitionforworldpeace.org; or call either 213-487-2368 or 323-281-7322
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