Well over 100,000 people marched against the war on Iraq in the United States this weekend. Congratulations to all who came out to voice opposition to war and militarism. Tens of thousands marched in Washington, D.C., 50,000 marched in LA and 40,000 in San Francisco in protests initiated by the ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism). The actions were massive outpourings of anti-war sentiment at this crucial time.
Tens of thousands march on the Pentagon
At the Pentagon, throngs of people made it through the snow and freezing rain to get to Washington and join together!
Led by a contingent of Iraq war veterans, active-duty service-members, Gold Star families, and veterans from other past and present wars, the demonstration received a large amount of media coverage. CNN has featured the demonstration, which the report described as a march of tens of thousands, in its rotation since yesterday. The major French newspaper, Le Monde, ran a significant article under the headline, "More than 50,000 People Protest Against the War in Iraq," about the March on the Pentagon as the U.S. component of the world-wide protests marking the beginning of the fifth year of the war against Iraq. The rally was broadcast live on C-span and Al-Jazeera and received wide-spread media coverage. C-span will be replaying the rally, check http://www.cspan.org/
The March on the Pentagon took place the day after a severe winter snow and sleet storm suddenly hit northeastern states that prevented many buses from traveling, 700 fights from taking off, and thousands of cars from reaching the March. Motorists were advised throughout New England and the Mid-Atlantic region to stay off the road. The large turnout at the demonstration was all the more significant given the hardships people had to endure to participate in the activity. People marched to the Pentagon and stayed as long as they could braving 20 mile-an-hour winds and a windchill factor into the teens.
The lead banner of the march demanding U.S. out of Iraq now was carried by Cindy Sheehan, Cynthia McKinney, Jonathan Hutto co-founder of Appeal for Redress, Mahdi Bray, Executive Director of the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation, Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson and youth and students in the anti-war movement.
50,000 march in Los Angeles
Nearly 50,000 people marched through the busy streets of Hollywood on March 17 in a spirited demonstration. It was a massive turnout. The action was initiated by the ANSWER Coalition and built by a broad coalition of progressive organizations in LA. Over 2,500 additional organizations and individuals endorsed and supported the protest. Chants like “Stop the war on Iraq," and “No justice, no peace; U.S. out of the Middle East” rang out from the multinational crowd of all ages. It was among the largest and most vibrant marches in LA since the start of the illegal war.
Before the march, a brief opening rally featured speakers and hip-hop music by Rebels to the Grain and the Nomads. As the march stepped off, tens of thousands of people filled in behind the lead banners, chanting and waving signs in the air.
The march filled the six-lane street from sidewalk to sidewalk on Hollywood Blvd. from Orange to Las Palmas and beyond. During the march, people at the front of the march could see the marchers still joining the action more than 10 blocks behind them. The march included many organized contingents as well, including a huge, militant group of youth and students, African Americans Against the War, immigrant rights advocates, Iraq veterans and other veterans groups, military families, Cuba/Venezuela/Bolivia and Latin America, labor, Filipino people's struggle, women, LGBT people, free the Panther 8, free the Cuban Five and others.
The march passed by the CNN building. Later on the march route, the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center draped a huge anti-war banner on its walls to show solidarity with the march as it passed by. It said "The war is immoral, not gay troops." The protesters cheered and chanted "Gay rights now!"
Once the marchers got to the end rally point at Hollywood and Orange, there were already 3,000 to 4,000 people waiting for them, showing support as the march entered the area.
The rally was chaired by Carlos Alvarez, coordinator of Youth & Student ANSWER; Christine Araquel, Alliance for Just and Lasting Peace in the Philippines; and Jim Lafferty, National Lawyers Guild. The crowd heard speakers and renowned musicians Ozomatli, Jackson Browne and Ben Harper play anti-war songs. Ozomatli played a 7-song, 30 minute set that had the protesters dancing in the street.
Other speakers at the March 17 rally in Los Angeles included:
Helga Aguayo, of Palmdale, California, wife of Agustín Aguayo, a conscientious objector court-martialed in Germany, sentenced just last week to 8 months in military prison for refusing to deploy on a 2nd tour to Iraq.
Muna Coobtee, Executive Board, National Council of Arab Americans
Vicky Castro, member of Gold Star Families for Peace, whose son Army Spc. Jonathan Castro 21, of Corona, California died in Mosul, Iraq in 2004.
Jabbar Magruder, Army National Guard, California Regional Coordinator, Iraq Veterans Against the War
Theresa Bonpane, Director, Office of the Americas
Tim Goodrich, Co-founder, Iraq Veterans Against the War
April Fitzsimmons, former U.S. Air Force analyst, Veterans for Peace
Maxine Waters, member of U.S. Congress
Martin Sheen, award-winning actor ("The West Wing")
Laura Dern, acclaimed actor ("Inland Empire")
Annalisa Enrile, Chair, GABRIELA Network
Mimi Kennedy, actor ("Dharma and Greg")
Juan Jose Gutierrez, Director, Latino Movement USA
Raul Murillo and Angelina Corona, Hermandad Mexicana Nacional
Rodrigo Argueta, Comite Pro-Democracia en Mexico
Rev. George Regas, All Saints Church, Pasadena
Kent Wong, Director, UCLA Labor Center
Rev. Richard Meri Ka Ra Byrd, World Can't Wait
Kathy Masaoka, Nikkei for Civil Rights and Redress
Margaret Prescod, Global Women's Strike
Greg Akili, Convener, African Americans Against the War
Steven Gibson, American Friends Service Committee
Yael Korin, Coalition to End Israeli Apartheid
Sidney Ross Risden, Global Women's Strike
Ian Thompson, Lead Organizer, ANSWER Coalition
The protest was covered by major English- and Spanish-language media outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox News, AP, AFP, Reuters, LA Daily News, Telemundo, Unavision, Azteca, La Opinon and other TV, print and radio media. KPFK, 90.7 FM, broadcast the entire rally and protest event.
Congratulations and thanks to all who worked so hard to make March 17 in Los Angeles a success. More than 10 busses came from across the Southland, along with dozens of carpool caravans and "peace trains." Thousands more came from schools, places of worship and local community centers. The demonstration marked an important step forward for the anti-war movement in LA and across the country.
As Bush increases troops and Congress remains inactive, the people of the United States are speaking ever louder for an immediate end to the racist war on Iraq. We are organized and we are fighting back. A strong, united people’s movement can and will change history. That’s what has always changed history. Let's continue to mobilize and to struggle against the war in Iraq and the war on people at home.
Get involved with the ANSWER Coalition. Stop the war! Bring the troops home now!
March 17 Los Angeles Coalition included, ANSWER Coalition, African Americans Against the War, Office of the Americas, American Friends Service Committee, National Council of Arab Americans, Coalition for World Peace, LA-US Labor Against the War, Alliance for Just and Lasting Peace in the Philippines, Free Palestine Alliance, GABRIELA Network, Latino Movement USA, National Lawyers Guild, Frente Amplio Progresista-Los Angeles, Nikkei for Civil Rights and Redress, Comite Pro-Democracia en Mexico, Topanga Peace Alliance, Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, Party for Socialism and Liberation, Veterans for Peace, KmB Pro-People Youth, Korean Americans for Peace, Youth and Student ANSWER, Coalition to End Israeli Apartheid-SoCal, Global Women's Strike, Muslim Student Association-West, Students for Justice in Palestine-UCLA, World Can't Wait.
Click here for more March 17 LA photos: http://flickr.com/photos/answerla/sets/72157600007896457/
Act Now to Stop War and End Racism
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