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March 15: 10,000 Protest Iraq War in Los Angeles

by ANSWER Coalition Tuesday, Mar. 18, 2008 at 12:27 PM
answerla@answerla.org 213-251-1025 137 N. Virgil Ave., #201, Los Angeles

People in Los Angeles Join Global Day of Action to Stop the War

March 15 Los Angeles Protest Draws 10

March 15: 10,000 Protest Iraq War in Los Angeles
People Hit the Streets to Stop the War
On the 5th Anniversary of the Illegal Invasion of Iraq

The March 15 march and rally in Los Angeles on the 5th anniversary of the Iraq war showed that mass opposition to the criminal war is still organized and strong. At least 10,000 people took to the streets in a regional protest in LA to demand an immediate end to the war. That same day, tens of thousands more marched in hundreds of cities across the United States.

The action was initiated by the ANSWER Coalition and built by a broad coalition of progressive organizations in LA. Hundreds of additional organizations and individuals endorsed and supported the protest.

Demonstrators began gathering at Hollywood and Vine at 11 a.m. By 12 noon, thousands of people were cheering for speakers and musicians at the opening rally. Speakers from various organizations and music by Mojow and the Vibration Army, Wil-B and Avis Harrell filled the area. As the marched stepped off, thousands of people filled in behind the lead banners, chanting and waving signs in the air. Former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, Vietnam vet Ron Kovic, actor Mike Farrel and others helped lead the protest.

The march filled the six-lane street from sidewalk to sidewalk on Hollywood Blvd. from Vine to Schrader--many blocks away. During the march, people at the front of the march could see the marchers still joining the action 7 blocks behind them. The demonstration was overwhelmingly youthful, with students pouring into the march from hundreds of Southern California schools. A large, militant contingent of over 200 young people wore red shirts and marched together. Other students lined the front banners, chanting "Iraq for Iraqis, troops out now!" and "Alto a la guerra, stop the war!"

Once the marchers arrived at the main rally point at Sunset and Cahuenga, at least 10,000 people stood at the CNN building. Protesters chanted "CNN, can't you see? Put the peace march on TV!" Despite strong, cold winds and scattered rain, many thousands stayed at the rally site for hours.

The main rally was chaired by Jim Lafferty, National Lawyers Guild and Interim General Manager of KPFK; Jennifer Caldwell, ANSWER Coalition; Carlos Alvarez, coordinator of Youth & Student ANSWER; and Christine Araquel, Alliance for Just and Lasting Peace in the Philippines. The crowd heard known speakers and community organizers; musicians played anti-war songs. Singer Tom English delivered a moving ballad for peace after Theresa Bonpane, Office of the Americas, led a moment of silence for the 1 million Iraqi dead and 4,000 U.S. soldiers killed in the war. Los Duggans and award-winning filmmaker also performed portions of the multimedia anti-war performance piece "Proving Ground."

It was a very large turnout; the biggest anti-war action in Southern California since fall 2007, far exceeding organizers' expectations.

The Anti-War Movement is the Real Story

The protest was covered by major English- and Spanish-language media outlets in Los Angeles, California and worldwide, including NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox News, AFP, UPI, LA Daily News, Telemundo, Unavision, Azteca, La Opinon and other TV, print and radio media.

Although the LA march was a top news story across the globe, the Los Angeles Times' coverage of March 15 was shameful. It covered a tiny pro-war rally in Washington, D.C. while only dedicating a small picture caption to a protest of 10,000 people in the city they supposedly represent.  We encourage people angered by its terrible coverage to complain to the Times: call 213-237-5000 and write a letter to the editor, letters@latimes.com.

In addition, the LAPD grossly undercounted the march, despite their stated policy not to give numbers to the press. This, along with the LA Times coverage, is a deliberate attempt to demoralize the anti-war movement--to make people who just participated in a great and significant event feel like their voice was not counted. But these are just the institutional and media mouthpieces of the pro-war establishment in Washington. They want to silence the anti-war movement, a movement that can't and won't be silenced.

In spite of these attempts to play down the importance of March 15 in LA, news of the protest reached to all areas of the United States and all continents in the world. The vast majority of people in the U.S. are against the war and they heard our message loud and clear. All of us who marched in LA on March 15 were part of a global day of action to stop the war. The anti-war movement is the REAL story!

Congratulations and thanks to all who worked so hard to make March 15 a success, especially the hundreds of dedicated volunteers. Buses, carpools and "peace trains" came to the demonstration from across the Southland. Thousands of people came from schools, places of worship and local community centers. The demonstration marked an important step for the anti-war movement in LA and across the country.

As Bush defends the war and Congress remains inactive, the people of the United States are speaking loudly 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!

News coverage:
AFP  UPI  The Times  Xinhua

LA rally speakers and rally facilitators included:

Cynthia McKinney, former U.S. Congresswoman, candidate for U.S. president
Ron Kovic, Vietnam vet, author "Born on the Forth of July"
Mahmud Ahmad, National Council of Arab Americans
Greg Akili
, African Americans Against the War
Gloria La Riva
, Party for Socialism and Liberation, candidate for U.S. president
Margaret Prescod
, Global Women's Strike
Jim Lafferty
, National Lawyers Guild, Interim General Manager of KPFK
Faith Santilla, GABRIELA Network
Mike Farrell, actor ("Mash")
Linda Sharp
, Doctors 4 Peace
Malalai Joya
, former member of Afghanistan's parliament
Sonali Kolhatkar, KPFK radio host
Blase & Theresa Bonpane
, Office of the Americas
Shakeel Syed
, Islamic Shura Council of Southern California
Sharaf Mowjood
, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Southern California
Christine Araquel, Alliance for Just and Lasting Peace in the Philippines
John Acevedo, ANSWER Coalition, U.S. Army veteran
Marylou Cabral, Youth & Student ANSWER, Cal State Long Beach student
Carlos Alvarez, Youth & Student ANSWER
Don White, Coalition for World Peace
Jennifer Caldwell, ANSWER Coalition
Kyle Petlock, Iraq Veterans Against the War
Travis Wilkerson
, award-winning filmmaker ("An Injury to One")
Anitra Wertzel
, American Friends Service Committee
PLUS: Students from 20 different middle schools, high schools and colleges


Music by Los Duggans, Tom English, Mojow and the Vibration Army, Avis Harrell and Wil-B
 
ANSWER Coalition initiated the March 15 Los Angeles protest. Stop the War Coalition members and endorsers: Paul Haggis, Academy award-winning director ("Crash," "In the Valley of Elah"); Cynthia McKinney, former Congresswoman and U.S. presidential candidate; Gore Vidal, award-winning author, playwright and activist; Mark Ruffalo, award-winning actor ("Zodiac"); Jackson Browne, legendary musician and songwriter; Ron Kovic, Vietnam veteran, author Born on the 4th of July; Office of the Americas, National Council of Arab Americans, United Teachers Los Angeles, ANSWER Coalition, Coalition for World Peace, Addicted to War, Al-Awda Palestinian Right to Return Coalition, MEChA Central Los Angeles, Latino Movement USA, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, Doctors 4 Peace, Bus Riders Union, CODO Verde/OC Greens, Hermandad Mexicana Nacional, Just Peace, American Friends Service Committee, Alliance for Just and Lasting Peace in the Philippines, Americans for a Department of Peace, ANSWER Ventura County, World Can't Wait, Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, Korean Americans for Peace, Council on American Islamic Relations, Asians for Jericho and Mumia, Kill Radio, Be Love Project for Nonviolent Resistance, Campaign to End Israeli Apartheid, Chicano Forums, Claremont Peace Group, Clothing of the American Mind, Coalition Against Unnecessary Wars, Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador-LA, School of the Americas Watch-LA, Committee in Solidarity with the People of Iran, Conspiracy of Thought, Echo Park Community Coalition, Comite Pro-Democracia en Mexico, Ecumenical Fellowship for Justice and Peace, First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles, San Pedro Neighbors for Peace and Justice, KmB Pro-People Youth, Free Iraq Now, Free Palestine Alliance, GABRIELA Network, Global Women’s Strike, International Socialist Organization, Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance, Laguna Beach Peace Vigil, Women in Black, Bus Riders Union, Los Angeles Anarchist Black Cross Federation, Katrina Survivors Network, Muslim Students Association-West, National Lawyers Guild, L.A., Nikkei for Civil Rights and Redress, Palisadians for Peace, Muslim American Society, Palestinian American Women’s Association, Patrick Henry Democratic Club of America, Party for Socialism and Liberation, Peace and Freedom Party, Peace and Justice Center of Pomona Valley, Peace Bakersfield, Radical Teen Cheer, Riverside Area Peace and Justice Action, Southern California Leadership Conference of Greater Los Angeles, Topanga Peace Alliance, Pomona College Student of Color Alliance, Youth & Student ANSWER and hundreds of others.

For more info call 213-251-1025 or email answerla@answerla.org. 

Photos by Kelly Wine. Check answerla.org for more photos in the coming days.


Donate today! We can’t do it without your help.

The last three months have been an intense period for anti-war organizing. Hundreds of volunteers give their time everyday, but we can’t do it without the help of our donors. Help the movement keep growing by making an urgently needed donation today by clicking on this link.


A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
Act Now to Stop War and End Racism
213-251-1025
http://www.answerla.org
answerla@answerla.org
137 N. Virgil Ave., #201
Los Angeles, CA 90004
Join us every Tuesday for the ANSWER activists meetings!

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2K not 10K Inflated numbers as usual Tuesday, Mar. 18, 2008 at 1:41 PM
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Question ANSWER Answer lies Tuesday, Mar. 18, 2008 at 6:35 PM

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