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Personal Account & Photos of the Los Angeles J27 Protest

by J Dunlap Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2007 at 1:55 AM

A firsthand account of the January 27, 2007 antiwar march in Downtown Los Angeles, with 12 photos taken on the route.

Personal Account & P...
11crowd.jpg, image/jpeg, 730x548

When we first reached Figueroa and 9th at around noon, there were already possibly a few thousand people gathered. The crowd was very diverse in all ways, and enthusiastic about our cause. Ethnities ranged from numerous Palestinians and Iranians and people from other parts of the Middle East to a family of Aztec dancers who performed with drums and full Native American dress, and the full range of ages was represented. People came from counties all over Southern California, including the counties of Los Angeles, Ventura, Riverside and Orange, and peace groups from all over the area were represented.

Many had homemade signs and showed great creativity in their art and words, with everything from the usual ("Impeach Bush," "Drop Bush Not Bombs," "Bring the Troops Home Now," etc.) to the unique and interesting, like a sign portraying Bush and Cheney as war pigs, and one man dressed as Jesus with a sign that warned "I can only forgive so much, George." Some had dogs or cats along, many with antiwar slogans on their backs. We saw a number of press cars, and there were cameras flashing everywhere, while overhead a news helicopter hovered in place to film the protest.

It started to sprinkle before we even started the march, but it didn't dampen the mood of the crowd. Our numbers only grew as we headed out toward 6th street, increasing to 5000 or higher at peak. We found ourselves in the midst of a lively crowd that stretched the whole length of the wide road, with drumming and chanting of slogans like "Hey, hey, ho, ho, this terrorist war has got to go!" and "Occupation is a crime, from Iraq to Palestine," as well as numerous chants in Spanish.

People leaned out of the windows of high apartments on either side to watch, and many cheered us on. For a while we thought we were near the front, but soon discovered we were somewhere in the middle, toward the back. We decided to try and make it to the front, weaving at a fast pace through the throngs of marchers, and passing a group carrying 40 coffins to represent on a miniature scale the American deaths in Iraq.

Before long we were marching in the open in a less packed section of the crowd. My guess is that the majority either ended up with the slower walkers in the back section or among the fastest at the front, leaving the mid-section sparser. We passed rows of small shops, where men and women called out their wares in Spanish at roadside stands and stopped to give us cheers. Mexican music played from shops that were open, while some stores had closed their doors for the duration of the march. At every block we were met with photographers who snapped pictures and videos of the protesters and their signs.

When we reached the top of the hill not far from the Federal Building, nearing the front of the crowd at last, we turned to look back. The sight was breathtaking-- we could see thousands of people stretched out behind us, moving in a mass sea of caring humanity, thousands of signs held high in the air. At the very front, a double line of photographers converged to get footage of Cindy Sheehan walking beside Ron Kovicks' wheelchair with a backdrop of banners from the Iraq Vets Against War and the Gold Star Families (with a banner announcing a peace surge.) A line of yellow tape protected them from being mobbed as they completed the march to the Federal Building, where a truck was parked in the center of the road with a ready microphone.

The rain came off and on, leaving those caught without umbrellas a bit soggy. At the Federal Building, the alloted space under the awnings soon filled up. But many, including us, remained out in the drizzle to mingle and talk, as well as to listen to the passionate speeches given ahead of Cindy's turn. The crowds remained strong until somewhere around 3pm, when heavier rains started and people began to return to their cars. But there were stills hundreds when we left, ahead of Cindy Sheehan's talk.

Given the number of reporters and photographers there, it is disappointing to see the fairly low media coverage. At the same time, it was covered better than many in past, so that's an encouraging sign. The turnout was not what I had hoped for, but still good and very invigorating. My hope is that we can build on the momentum and bring out thousands more people for the March 17 event. It is imperative for both the Republicans and the Democrats, as well as the media, to hear our voices loud and strong, demanding for them to listen to the people and act NOW to bring the troops home from Iraq and not to start another immoral and illegal war against Iran.

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A Wheelchair-bound Veteran Makes His Voice Heard

by J Dunlap Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2007 at 1:55 AM

A Wheelchair-bound V...
01wheelchairwsigns.jpg, image/jpeg, 450x600

This man had an umbrella set up over his electric wheelchair, ringed on all sides by antiwar signs.

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A View of the Crowd

by J Dunlap Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2007 at 1:55 AM

A View of the Crowd...
02crowd.jpg, image/jpeg, 620x465

This is part of the view from the top of the hill, looking back down the street.

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100 Iraqis Killed Per Day

by J Dunlap Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2007 at 1:55 AM

100 Iraqis Killed Pe...
05mewsign.jpg, image/jpeg, 525x700

Me with my sign, featuring my own artwork.

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Cat for Peace

by J Dunlap Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2007 at 1:55 AM

Cat for Peace...
10catforpeace.jpg, image/jpeg, 730x548

Many brought pets along, including the woman holding this cat.

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The Front of the Protest

by J Dunlap Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2007 at 1:55 AM

The Front of the Pro...
04frontofcrowd.jpg, image/jpeg, 740x555

The Gold Star Families for Peace and the Iraq Veterans Against the War headed up the protest.

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Cindy Sheehan and Ron Kovics

by J Dunlap Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2007 at 1:55 AM

Cindy Sheehan and Ro...
03cindyatfrontofcrowd.jpg, image/jpeg, 630x473

Photographers swarmed at the front of the march to snap photos and videos of Cindy Sheehan and Ron Kovics, while a line of yellow tape protected the two activists from being mobbed

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Another view of the crowd

by J Dunlap Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2007 at 1:55 AM

Another view of the ...
08midfront.jpg, image/jpeg, 730x548

Taken near the front of the crowd, rallying next to the Federal Building.

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by J Dunlap Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2007 at 1:55 AM

12coffins.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x450

40 coffins were carried in the march to represent on a miniature scale American losses in Iraq.

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Viva Lebanon

by J Dunlap Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2007 at 1:55 AM

Viva Lebanon...
07lebanon.jpg, image/jpeg, 510x680

While walking on the steps of the Federal Building we met this man from Lebanon, dressed in Muslim garb and drapped in the Lebanese flag.

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Peace Surge

by J Dunlap Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2007 at 1:55 AM

Peace Surge...
13peacesurge.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x450

The Gold Star Families for Peace and a few of the Codepink ladies head up the march.

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1000s Gathered in Front of the Federal Building

by J Dunlap Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2007 at 1:55 AM

1000s Gathered in Fr...
14crowd.jpg, image/jpeg, 638x479

Another view of the crowd, which reached a peak of over 5000.

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