by Ich Bin Ein Fallujan
Thursday, Nov. 11, 2004 at 6:06 PM
Despite the one-day notice, about 400-500 people turned out to protest the day after the start of the second U.S. attack on the people of Fallujah. Mysteriously, two tanks arrived and were immediately surrounded by chanting demonstrators.
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Above: Tank Stopped by Demonstrators on Wilshire Blvd.
This story is the same as for part 1:
Despite the one-day notice, about 400-500 people came to the Westwood Federal Building on Tuesday night to protest the start of the second U.S. attack on the people of Fallujah, which had been officially launched on the previous day. To my own recollection, this is a record number for a demonstration called on such short notice.
As usual for such short-notice demonstrations at this location, most of the group stood on the sidewalk along Wilshire Blvd. waving signs and shouting to oncoming commuters in cars and buses, who frequently expressed their support by shouting and blowing their horns, and (much, much less frequently) expressed opposition. Smaller groups were stationed on each of the other three corners of the Wilshire and Veteran intersection, and as the lights changed some of these groups would parade across the intersection, making themselves still more visible to traffic.
About 7:30pm, two tanks barreled past going East on Wilshire, rounded the corner onto Veteran going South, and disappeared.
About ten or fifteen minutes later, two tanks (apparently the same ones) appeared again going East on Wilshire and stopped for the light there. Demonstrators immediately stepped in front of the lead tank, blocking its path, and started to chant "U.S. Out!" at the soldiers, whose heads and torsos were clearly visible and who evidently exchanged a few words with protestors.
The soldiers seemed amused and not really unfriendly. Unfortunately, a few of our protestors chanted "murderers!" at the soldiers, although in general I think we were more sophisticated than that, realizing that many soldiers are victims themselves who were recruited through propaganda, guile, and economic incentives that the very poor can find it difficult to refuse.
I have no idea why they were there, and neither did anyone else that I asked.
Both tanks were surrounded on three sides by protestors for about three or four minutes until the LAPD showed up and placed themselves between tanks and protestors, and cleared the protestors who were blocking the front tank out of the road. I did not witness any brutality as this occurred, nor am I aware of any arrests having been made.
The tanks then proceeded to turn right onto Veteran and disappeared from view.
Our protest continued following this incident. If sending tanks driving by was meant to intimidate us, it definitely did not succeed, and in fact had the opposite effect.
Thus, we citizens of conscience in Los Angeles have joined people around the world in expressing our public opposition to a U.S. policy of dealing death and mayhem to the citizens of Iraq in general and to those of Fallujah in particular.