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ANSWER Anti-War Contingent at MLK Day Parade

by Ian Thompson Friday, Jan. 19, 2007 at 11:47 PM

Photos from the anti-war contingent at the MLK Day parade

ANSWER Anti-War Cont...
img_4643.jpg.jpg, image/jpeg, 1600x1200

'Stop the war' contingent brings anti-war message to MLK Day parade

Thursday, January 18, 2007

By: Ian Thompson

Los Angeles

On Monday, Jan. 15, the ANSWER Coalition proudly celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day by marching with anti-war, anti-racist organizations and activists in the MLK Kingdom Day parade in Los Angeles. Other participating organizations included the Party for Socialism and Liberation, the Campaign to End Israeli Apartheid-Southern California and the World Can’t Wait.

Many organizations and individuals marched in the anti-war contingent, carrying signs and banners reading "Stop the racist war, honor MLK!" and "From Iraq to New Orleans: Fund people’s needs, not the war machine!"

The hundreds of thousands of mostly African American bystanders chanted along with the anti-war groups: "Stop the war!" was a favorite chant. "What do we want? Troops Out! When do we want it? Now!" and "No more racist war, that’s what King was fighting for!" also rang out as the anti-war contingent made its way down King Boulevard. Many people at the parade pumped their fists in the air and gave the peace sign while the contingent passed by. The chanting was especially strong by the parade viewing stand at the corner of MLK and Crenshaw Boulevards.

The Los Angeles Police Department, at the behest of pro-military, pro-war forces in charge of the parade organizing, attempted to shut down the anti-war contingent at least four times on the parade route. At one point, the LAPD threatened to arrest the anti-war organizers. But the activists and the crowd lining the parade route ultimately prevailed, and the group finished the march to cheers at historic Leimert Park.

The irony of allowing the LAPD and all branches of the U.S. military participate in a parade honoring Martin Luther King Jr.—a civil rights and anti-war leader—while trying to marginalize and push out all anti-war activists, was not lost on the crowd.

ANSWER also passed out more than 5,000 thousand flyers promoting the upcoming March 17 protest, marking the 4th anniversary of the criminal Iraq war. The response to the anti-war, anti-racist message was overwhelmingly positive.

It was clear that the ANSWER contingent struck a nerve with the pro-military parade organizers. The contingent was even mentioned in the Los Angeles Times coverage of the protest. Here is what the Times said:

"In the spirit of the day, an antiwar protest group, ANSWER Coalition L.A., was allowed to participate, officials said, though it was not given permission ahead of time. Coalition members were later permitted, said Los Angeles Police Officer Eddie Martinez, ‘as long as they demonstrated peacefully.’"

There was never any question as to whether the ANSWER contingent was peaceful. It was not demonstrating against the parade or MLK, but against the war and racism—a message that resonated with the crowd lining the streets of South Los Angeles.

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MLK Day 2007.1

by Ian Thompson Friday, Jan. 19, 2007 at 11:47 PM

MLK Day 2007.1...
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MLK Day 2007.2

by Ian Thompson Friday, Jan. 19, 2007 at 11:47 PM

MLK Day 2007.2...
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MLK Day 2007.3

by Ian Thompson Friday, Jan. 19, 2007 at 11:47 PM

MLK Day 2007.3...
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