Regime Change, Begins at Home Drop Bush, Not Bombs
Hundreds of Thousands March Against War In Washington, San Francisco and Cities Around the World
In the largest anti-war demonstration since the Vietnam War era, more than a quarter of a million people took to the streets in Washington, DC and San Francisco. Other demonstrations took place in cities around the world.
Organizers for the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition announced the peoples anti-war referendum: a nationwide grassroots campaign in which people will vote no on war. The results will be announced at national demonstrations on January 18-19, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday celebration weekend http://www.votenowar.org
The largest demonstration took place in Washington D.C., where tens of thousands of people participated in a rally that began adjacent to the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial. While the Washington Post and police put the figure at above 100,000, news anchors on Pacifica radio, which broadcast the event live, put the figure at over 200,000.
The San Francisco march of 100,000 filled the entire 1.7-mile march route from Justin Herman Plaza to Civic Center. The march took three hours and people were still in Justin Herman Plaza as the march reached Civic Center.
The march in Washington D.C. was so large that when marchers at the front of the procession returned to Constitution Avenue on their way back, they had to wait to allow demonstrators at the tail of the march to pass.
Organizers say a demonstration of this magnitude had not happened since 1969, five years after Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin authorizing President Johnson to launch a war on Vietnam. Last week Congress passed a similar resolution giving Bush a blank check to wage war on Iraq.
The more well known speakers included Susan Sarandon, Al Sharpton, Congressmember Cynthia McKinney, former U.S. attorney general Ramsey Clark, and singer Patti Smith, who performed with a guitarist.
Also speaking was Clarence Thomas, Secretary-General of the International Longshore Workers Union Local 10; Mahdi Bray, Muslim American Freedom Foundation; attorneys Leonard Weinglass and Lynne Stewart; Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry’s; Ahmed Al-Awazza of the Muslim Students Association; Michael Letwin, New York City Labor Against the War; Peta Lindsay, youth organizer for A.N.S.W.E.R., and author Leslie Feinberg.
“The huge outpouring on October 26 far exceeded our expectations, when we initiated this demonstration six weeks ago,” said Mara Verheyden-Hilliard. “The massive turnout is a clear indication of the frustration and anger people feel about Congress rubber stamping Bush’s war drive. People are going into the streets again as they have in the past in a classic grassroots organizing strategy that we feel can be decisive in stopping the war.”