Thousands join peace protest in San FranciscoCampus Times
November 1, 2002
by Oscar de León
“Not in our name.” “No more blood for oil.” “Money for jobs, not for war.” These were just a few of the slogans inscribed across banners and placards carried by as many as 80,000 people at an anti-war demonstration staged Saturday in San Francisco.
Two buses and multiple passenger vehicles left the Claremont Colleges at 11:30 p.m. on Friday, transporting participants from La Verne, Claremont and surrounding areas to the San Francisco event site.
Protesters gathered at the base of Market Street near Pier 5 along the ocean around 6 a.m. Buses traveled from as far away as Arizona and Washington State and dropped off protesters of all ages and nationalities determined to make their dissent heard against a war with Iraq.
“I feel disappointed at congress for rushing to grant this barely elected president war powers, especially after the experience of the Vietnam war,” said Claremont resident Mike Raugh, professor of mathematics at Harvey Mudd College.
“We are building a movement,” said ANSWER volunteer organizer Susan Campist, who promoted the protest and organized 16 of the many buses that carried participants from Los Angeles.
“We’ve got to stop the United States from bombing [the people of Iraq],” she said. “We’ve got to stop U.S. militarism.”
Claremont resident Vicki Johnson, said she “came to experience the energy of a large protest.
“I wanted to meet people who feel the same way I do about the United State’s poor foreign policy,” she said.
During the march, which began at 11 a.m. and continued past 4 p.m., thousands of people raised their voices in song and protest. “One, two, three, four, we don’t want your racist war! Five, six, seven, eight, no more blood and no more hate!” rang out as the march wound down the street.
Unlike images of the protests of the 1960s against the Vietnam war, students did not monopolize this anti-war gathering. “We are here once again protesting against war,” said Madeline Duckles, who came from Berkley with two veterans who were supporting the demonstration. “We’ve been working for peace since before the Vietnam War,” Duckles said.
Among the speakers was Dolores Huertas, co-founder with Cesar Chavez of the United Farm Workers of America. In a brief interview, Huertas said she encouraged citizens to
“send telegrams, emails and letters to the White House,” letting President Bush know how many people are against the possible war.
Over a loudspeaker looking on to a mall just off Market Street, speaking to a crowd of about 10,000 protesters, Huertas chanted, “Viva la Paz (Let peace reign),” and “Si Se Puede (It can be done).”
A dance troupe of six women, Dance Reggae, performed at the event.
“There should not be a war,” performer Tina Branchero said. “We all have to speak up to encourage peace and to resist what’s happening to our country.
“We do it through art,” she said of her dance troupe.
Other speakers at the event included John Parker from the International Answer Organization, Mahdi Bray from the Muslim American Freedom Foundation, Michael Letwin from the organization New York City Labor Against War and Daniel Ellsberg who gained notoriety in 1971 by releasing the Pentagon Papers that revealed covert American interests in Vietnam.
The papers revealed that the U.S. government had misled the American people about the escalation of the war. In the case New York Times Co. V. United States (1971), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the papers were allowed to be publicized.
Barbara Lee, congresswoman who was the lone vote against President Bush’s proposal, which would allow unilateral use of force against Iraq, was the keynote speaker at the protest.
A companion march took place simultaneously in Washington, D.C. with organizers ANSWER International estimating more than 100,000 in attendance. The protest featured speakers including actress Susan Sarandon, Al Sharpton, and congress member Cinthia McKinney.