MARCH 19/20 ANTIWAR ACTION REPORTS FROM HUNDREDS OF CITIES (International ANSWER)

MARCH 19/20 ANTIWAR ACTION REPORTS
FROM HUNDREDS OF CITIES

For Immediate Release: March 25, 2005

PRESS CONTACT: Brian Becker, Sarah Sloan
(202) 544-3389, (202) 904-7949

Over 800 cities and towns across the United States held demonstrations
on March 19/20 as part of the Global Day of Action on the second
anniversary of the “shock and awe” invasion of Iraq. More
than 200 of those cities have sent in reports and
photographs on their actions.

The A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition is bundling these reports so that they can
receive massive circulation on the internet and elsewhere. Because of
the large number of reports, it is not possible to include them all in
one email. All of the reports, listed in alphabetical order by state,
can be found on the March 19 reports section of the A.N.S.W.E.R.
Coalition website, which also includes a photo album:
http://www.pephost.org/site/R?i=Brk1GGZbbQS72suC2Mm5YQ..

Below is a sampling of the March 19/20 reports and photographs:

San Francisco, California

Trent Willis, President of ILWU Local 10:
“When I looked back from near the front of the march, I
couldn’t see the end. It looked like 30,000 people or more from
the stage in Civic Center. I was very pleased with the march,
especially with the rain and other obstacles.”

In San Francisco, more than 25,000 people marched and rallied. The
crowd in San Francisco swelled as the rain subsided in the late
morning. It took more than 45 minutes for the entire demonstration,
marching on wide streets, to enter the Civic Center Plaza.

The S.F. march included contingents from the labor movement, Glide
Memorial Church, the Palestinian and Arab American community,
students, immigrant rights movement and many other organizations and
communities.

ILWU Local 10, the dockworkers of the International Longshore and
Warehouse Union in the Bay Area, voted to hold their stop-work meeting
on March 19, shutting down Bay Area ports for the day. Lo. 10 also
voted to participate fully in the March 19 demonstration in San
Francisco, and the local’s famed Drill Team led a large labor
contingent in the march.

3-19-05 Global Day of Action – San Francisco-

Photo by A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition

“Our International union voted at the 2003 convention to oppose
the war and occupation on the motion of Local142 Hawaii,” said
Local 10 President Trent Willis, “in keeping with our union’s
ten guiding principles and the ILWU’s tradition which includes
opposing wars like those in Korea, Vietnam and now the Iraq war. Local
10 was also one of the first to come out against the war in
2002.” Willis, who was one of the featured speakers at the Civic
Center rally, said that the number of people who turned out exceeded
his expectations. “When I looked back from near the front of the
march, I couldn’t see the end. It looked like 30,000 people or
more from the stage in Civic Center. I was very pleased with the
march, especially with the rain and other obstacles.”

Among the other speakers were: Rev. Cecil Williams, Glide Memorial
Church; Elias Rashmawi, National Council of Arab Americans; Zeina
Zaatari & Eyad Kishawi, Free Palestine Alliance; Nazila Bargshady,
Silvia Tello & Richard Becker, ANSWER Coalition; S.F. Supervisors
Tom Ammiano and Ross Mirkarimi; Janine Antoine, Bay Area Natives for
Peace & Vanguard Foundation; Tim Paulson-Executive Director and
Walter Johnson-Secretary-Treasurer Emeritus, San Francisco Labor
Council; Barbara Lubin, Middle East Children’s Alliance; Mario Santos,
Alliance for Just and Lasting Peace in the Philippines; Maurice
Campbell, Community First Coalition; Kawal Ulanday, BAYAN-USA; Alicia
Jrapko, National Committee to Free the Cuban Five; State
Assemblyperson Mark Leno; Gulf War conscientious objector Aimee
Allison; and Pierre Labossiere, Haiti Action Committee.

Los Angeles, California

Arturo Garcia, director of the Alliance for a Just and Lasting Peace
in the Philippines:
“We were wet because it rained, but it did not dampen the spirit and
militancy of the protesters. The Filipino presence at March 19 was
very large because it is the second front of the so-called ‘war on
terror.’ As part of the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition, we were happy to
participate in and build the demonstration because we understand the
importance of uniting to struggle against U.S. imperialism.”

In Los Angeles, 20,000 protesters marched through Hollywood despite
the morning rain, chanting “End the Occupation – Bring the Troops Home
Now!” and holding anti-war signs and banners high. The march included
contingents from the labor movement, youth and students, the
Palestinian and Arab American community, the Filipino community, Cuba
and the Cuban Five, the immigrant rights movement, the women’s
equality movement, the movement to Save King Drew hospital, and many
other organizations and communities.

Many speakers from all sectors of Los Angeles spoke, including Vietnam
veteran Ron Kovic, California State Assemblymember Jackie Goldberg,
Margaret Prescod of Global Women’s Strike, same-sex marriage rights
activist Robin Tyler, Richard Moreno of Global Resistance Network,
Michael Shahin of Free Palestine Alliance, and more.

New York City, New York

Brenda Stokely, President of AFSCME District Council 1707 and
Co-Convener of New York City Labor Against the War:
“It is very important that the demonstration began in Harlem. Not only
because the people of Harlem, and especially its young people, have
had rain on them the costs of militarism, war and racism. Harlem is
also important as a symbol of resistance. Every nationality in New
York was represented in the march from Marcus Garvey Park to Central
Park.”

M19inNYC2

Photo by Troops Out Now Coalition

M19inNYC1

Photo by A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition

The Troops Out Now Coalition reports that more than 15,000 marched
from Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem to Central Park, where thousands
were already gathered.

Excerpted from report:

“As they marched through Harlem, they were greeted by cheers and
applause from the community. People came out of stores and apartments
to join the march. Others hung out of their windows and flashed the
peace sign or raised their fist.

“Speakers at the Central Park Rally included Representative Charles
Rangel, New York City Council Members Margarita Lopez and Charles
Barron, former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, and attorney Lynne
Stewart.

“After the Central Park Rally, thousands marched to the Upper East
Side mansion of billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg with the slogan,
‘Fund Cities, Not War!'”

Organizers with the Troops Out Now Coalition announced a May 1 rally
in New York City to demand “Jobs, Not War! Bring the Troops Home Now!”

Fayetteville, North Carolina

David Cline, President of Veterans for Peace and a National
Coordinator of Vietnam Veterans Against the War:
“The Fayetteville demonstration represented veterans taking the
lead in that community. We have to build a broad united front of
all the oppressed peoples in this country, the people who are effected
by the war. Veterans are stepping up to the plate – the veterans from
the past have been steeping up for awhile and now we have the younger
brothers and sisters coming home and stepping up.”

M19inFayetteville1

M19inFayetteville2

North Carolina Peace & Justice Coalition

Photo by Sam Hummel

Excerpted from the North Carolina Peace and Justice Coalition:

“On the Second Anniversary of the War and Occupation of Iraq, over
4,000 people marched and rallied in Fayetteville, NC [home of Fort
Bragg, 82nd Airborne, Special Forces], to Show Real Support for the
Troops: Bring Them Home Now! This was the largest anti-war
demonstration in Fayetteville’s history, and signifies a historic
turning point for the anti-war movement, when military families,
veterans and soldiers take the lead in calling for an end to the
Occupation in Iraq.

“People came from all over: Tennessee, Florida, South Carolina,
Minnesota, DC, Hawaii, New York. At least 20 active duty GIs defied
orders from Ft Bragg to come to listen.

“The NC Peace & Justice Coalition joined with Military Families
Speak Out, Veterans For Peace, Fayetteville Peace with Justice, Quaker
House, Bring Them Home Now, North Carolina Council of Churches, and
United for Peace and Justice as the core sponsors for the March 19
mobilization to Fayetteville. Busloads of people from across the South
poured into Fayetteville. We delivered a compelling and powerful
message against the continuation of the war – That’s REAL support for
the troops.”

Chicago, Illinois

From a speech by Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney of Georgia at the
March 19 rally in Chicago:
“They tell us that this is a war for democracy, but that is a joke
because George Bush came to power by stopping democracy at home,
denying the opportunity to vote to Blacks and Latinos in Florida. In
countries like Haiti they arrested President Aristide and forced him
at gunpoint to leave his own country. While they purport to cherish
democracy, they really have a disdain for it.”

Downtown Chicago from Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile to the heart
of the Loop was an armed camp filled with State, County and City cops
in full riot gear. There were 1,600 to 2,000 police to prevent a
peaceful protest from being seen on the streets where people shopped
on a Saturday afternoon. Instead the armed thugs of the Democratic
Governor and the Democratic Mayor tried to silence protests against
the Bush war machine. Permits had been denied by the city for a
peaceful march and a federal judge backed the denial. Defying threats
of arrests and worse, thousands of protesters turned out to march. It
was hard to get an accurate picture of the size of the crowd due to
the disorganizing tactics of the police, but estimates ranged from
3-5,000. It was a very young crowd.

A permitted rally at Chicago’s Federal Plaza was surrounded on all
sides by the riot geared cops preventing access from several
directions and making everything very difficult. The speakers list was
headed up by Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. Fred Hampton Jr.,
whose father was murdered by the federal and local police, spoke on
behalf of Aaron Patterson, a political prisoner. Juan Torres, whose
son was killed in Afghanistan, spoke out against the U. S. war, as did
Leila Lipscomb who lost her son in Iraq. Maria Salgado, a student at
Senn High School, told of the struggle the students, teachers and
community have waged to keep the federal and city governments from
turning part of their school in to a U.S. Navy training academy.
Aiyinde and Aisa Jean Baptise spoke of the role of the U.S. in Haiti
and Africa; and Gustavo Vasquez of the Bolivarian Circle spoke of U.S.
imperialism’s attacks on the people of Venezuela, Cuba, Colombia
and Latin America. Speakers from Iraq, Iran and elsewhere joined
veterans and community activists in a program chaired by a Palestinian
woman and man.

The event was organized by the Chicago March 19 Action Coalition.

New Paltz, New York

Excerpted from the Hudson Valley Activist Newsletter:

“A crowd of 1,700 people – a large proportion of them youth – took
part in an antiwar demonstration in the upstate village of New Paltz
March 19 to commemorate the second anniversary of the unjust, illegal
invasion and occupation of Iraq.

“Some 65 organizations from seven counties participated in the ad hoc
March 19 coalition that sponsored a march and rally in Hasbrouck Park.
The coalition was initiated by the Hudson Valley Activist Newsletter
(where a full account of the events will be carried in its next
issue.)

“The rally was followed by a colorful march of 1,200 demonstrators
through village streets, lead by a marching band. Chants such as
“Racist, Sexist, Anti-Gay, Bush and Cheney Go Away!” and the old
favorite, “What do we want? PEACE. When do we want it? NOW,” provided
the sound when the band rested.

“Local news coverage of the event was unusually robust.

“The press accounts estimated the crowd as “hundreds and hundreds,”
but the 1,700 estimate by the organizers is correct. One veteran of
many such events climbed to the top of playground monkey bars nears
the stage and she calculated the size sector by sector to arrive at
this figure. Meanwhile, another activist slowly walked through the
crowd from end to end and independently arrived at the same
conclusion.”

M19inNewPaltz1

Photo by Students Against Empire

Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham had two peace actions: an outdoor rally sponsored by the
Birmingham Peace Project and Pax Christi in Five Points South
featuring poetry from community poets, actors, special ed students and
activists structured around the subject: “You Can’t Win a War Against
Yourself.” The keynote speaker was Priscilla Andrews, state chair of
Military Families Speak Out. Around 125 people attended.

A follow-up event took place at Highland Coffee Company where
actor/singers from The Politically Incorrect Cabaret presented “Brecht
on War,” an hour of antiwar poetry and song with texts by
playwright/poet Bertolt Brecht and composers Hanns Eisler and Kurt
Weill.

Mobile, Alabama

From Citizens for Peace in Mobile, Alabama:

At the announced time for the start of Mobile’s demo at a midtown park
on Saturday about half a dozen deflated folks had gathered. We
speculated that this meager band reflected the decision by many
leading liberals to quietly go AWOL from the anti-war camp. But
gradually more came. The sign-up sheet contains many new names,
several of them young, perhaps indicating the arrival of the early
breezes of a following draft. And a couple of Protestant clergy
appeared for probably the first time since Citizens for Peace began
holding rallies at this site over two years ago. (Some Catholic nuns
have routinely come, though rarely–if ever–any priests.)

The most present at any one time during the two-hour vigil was about
30, who held posters up to the traffic on two major streets that pass
the park. About 40 or 50 different people participated at some time
during the afternoon. This was comparable to the turn out on
inauguration day in January, when more people with an explicitly
Democratic Party allegiance came to mourn or protest W’s second term.
On Saturday one new participant requested a sign saying Republicans
Against the War, and we dashed one off on the spot for him.

As usual, the majority of drivers in passing cars pretended we were
invisible and concentrated on staring straight ahead as they passed
(and even while trapped right in front of us by red lights) But among
those who acknowledged our existence far more were supportive than
opposed, as before. And the proportion among all passing vehicles
willing to honk or wave their support was highest ever. Everybody
present who had attended previous demonstrations at the park agreed
about this.

Phoenix, Arizona

Our group was small in comparison to many around the country but it
was the largest we have ever had. We represent Grandmothers for Peace
International in Phoenix AZ. On Saturday we had a great group of
grandmothers, grandfathers, children and grandchildren. It was rainy
and chilly but that did not deter our group from coming out to show
their support for ending the war. We also had great support from
people driving by who honked and waved and gave us thumbs up and the
peace sign. Of course we also had the disgruntled who wanted us to
leave the country. But their numbers were small compared to the
support. It was amazing!

Tucson, Arizona

About 350 people gathered at 10AM in Catalina Park in the drizzle
(after a huge thunderstorm the hour before) to hear the Raging
Grannies, several speakers, and a folksinger Then the weather cleared
and the crowd continued the anti-war protest in a colorful and loud
Peace March down the street from near downtown/4th Ave., through the
University of Arizona Campus, past the ROTC Building, and finally down
Speedway where heavy Saturday morning traffic honked and cheered us on
for about a mile until we reached the Recruiters’ Center where we held
signs and chanted up and down both sides of the street for another
hour or so until 1PM.

The response from the public was tremendous for the most part with the
inevitable few uglies thrown in for spice.

700 people protested when Bush was in Tucson on Monday, March 21 at
10AM at the Tucson Community Center to fearmonger about Social
Security. The protest was held by all local progressives and
Democrats.

Chico, California

The Chico Enterprise Record, the main newspaper in Chico, carried a
front page article on Sunday covering the March 19 protest. Chico and
Redding, CA peace vigils/demonstrations were also covered by several
local TV news networks.

Cloverdale, California

We had 50 wonderful souls who braved the inclement weather and stood
outside in the rain, cold, and wind. We marched with banners and signs
calling for the end of the war, and for peace, and called out the
names of our fallen soldiers from 1-3 pm in the afternoon. Many, many
passers-by, in their cars, honked in approval of support.

Eureka, California

Over 2,000 people marched in pouring rain and gale winds in Eureka
this Saturday. It was dangerous to use a microphone so speakers had to
raise their voices above the storm. People sang, chanted and danced as
they progressed through Eureka to the beat of drums and a marching
band. Flags of many countries which had spoken out against the war
were on display.

* * * * *

The Times-Standard newspaper reported over 1,000 marchers in our tiny
neck of the woods. March organizers estimated somewhere over 2,000
people in a furious downpour and winds which let up briefly while the
march itself was on the streets. The people who showed up on such a
stormy day were SERIOUS! Most pre- and post-march activities had to be
canceled due to weather.

Fort Bragg / Mendocino Coast, California

There were at least 55 people involved in support of the march in San
Francisco on March 19. The weather was not cooperative, but it didn’t
dampen anyone’s spirits.

Fresno, California

The Modesto Peace and Life Center joined the Rally in the Valley in
Fresno, CA on March 19th. Forty different organizations helped support
the rally. There were about 500 people there. Some of the speakers
were a mother of a slain soldier in Iraq from Tracy, CA and a
returning Marine. It was good to see so many groups and people from a
generally conservative area.

Gualala, California

A small group of 7 women stood outside the post office in the tiny
coastal town of Gualala, CA (pop. 585) with a sign that said, “Support
Our Troops, Bring Them Home”. They were harassed by one angry white
male in a pickup truck. They were supported by numerous drivers who
honked as they passed by the women and their sign.

Mount Shasta, California

Some 20 Mount Shasta Peace Activists showed up in a steady gentle rain
which eventually waned enough to participate without getting too wet
or cold. We gathered at Mount Shasta City Plaza at 12 Noon, carrying
signs and interacting with the public driving and walking by. Most
(about 70%) were supportive with thumbs up or peace signs extended and
there were a few other gestures of disagreement. Our united vigil
ended after about an hour and participants departed with a sense of
having made a statement against the war.

Placerville, California

About 20 kids protested along highway 50 in the rain on March 19,
2005. We got our picket signs and as many people as we could and
protested.

Sacramento, California

On the second anniversary of the invasion in Iraq, a group numbering
around 50 ignored rain and enjoyed the support of thousands of
passers-by at the busy intersection of Fulton and Marconi in
Sacramento to protest the war in Iraq.

Organized by Sacramento Peace Action as part of ongoing vigils and
protests throughout the city every week, the event was poorly covered
by news media. The only TV station was Channel 3 – a print media
person didn’t mention his affiliation and had no cameraman.

San Diego, California

The San Diego’s Union-Tribune on Sunday had a “pointer” to an article
covering the rally on Page One, and the story was on Page 14, with a
3-column photo accompanying it.

San Jose, California

Despite intermittent rain showers, 2,000 people joined a spirited
march from the CalTrain station to a rally in Cesar Chavaz Park in San
Jose on March 20. The march was led by a militant contingent of youth
from BAYAN-USA Northern California. Among the speakers at the rally
were Hatam Bazian, a professor from the University of California at
Berkeley, who has been targeted by right-wing Zionist forces; Richard
Becker, from the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition; George Johnson, a Vietnam vet
and member of Veterans for Peace; a mother of a soldier killed in
Iraq, and representatives from labor and student groups. The march was
sponsored by the Peninsula/South Bay Peace Council, a new coalition
made up of several dozen peace and social justice organizations.

* * * * *

On Sunday, March 20th, 2,000 people from the Peninsula and the South
Bay joined over 800 communities and cities across the nation this
weekend to protest this illegal, immoral war and demand peace and an
immediate end to the War on Iraq.

It was under the pouring rain in downtown San Jose that everyone
shouted, “It can rain, it can pour, but we want an end to this
bloody war.” Dennis Kyne, a veteran of Gulf War I, started off
the event by singing anti-war songs at the San Jose Diridon Train
Station. The march began after over 1,000 more people from all over
the Bay Area arrived via the Peace Train at the train station. As they
arrived, over 500 young people, organized by Bayan, shouted energetic
chants to get everyone fired up.

When we arrived at the War Memorial, more than 2,500 people listened
to Nadia McCaffrey speak, who lost her son in the war (her only
child). She said, “I am on a mission and I will not stop until we end
this war.”

At Cesar Chavez Plaza, Richard Becker from A.N.S.W.E.R., Hatem Bazian
from Univ. of California, Larry Siegle from Mountain View Voices for
Peace, Samina Faheem from American Muslim Voice, Troy from Silicon
Valley Debug, Roshan Pour Abdullah from Iranians for Human Rights, and
many others all gave powerful speeches. And we thank Paul George from
Peninsula Peace and Justice Center and Amie from San Jose State Univ
Greens who both did a fantastic job as MCs throughout the rally.

* * * * *

Sunday’s March for Peace & Justice started with very nasty
weather. The deluge did not dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd.
Instead, as spring rain does, it nourished and enriched the resolve of
those gathered. The March made a brief stop at the Veterans Memorial
on its way to Plaza de Cesar Chavez. Nadia McCaffrey (mother of a
soldier killed in Iraq) marched and spoke at the Peace rally. The
gathering was multilingual. The lively, younger (multi-ethnic)
generation was well represented. A new twist on “protest songs” really
livened-up the soggy gathering. More than 35 Peace Organizations
endorsed/participated in the event organized by the Peninsula/South
Bay Peace Coordinating Council.

Willits, California

Population 5,000. Greeting folks headed down the to SF rally on Hwy.
101.

Fort Collins, Colorado

Nearly 250 people marched against the war here Saturday.

Danbury, Connecticut

13 of us showed up in a cold rain yesterday in Danbury, CT. Colin
Cascia from the Danbury Independent Media Center and Chris Towne from
Youth For Justice were the organizers of this vigil.

Hartford, Connecticut

It was democracy at its finest on March 19. About 1,000 demonstrators
lined the poverty stricken streets of Hartford on the 2nd anniversary
of George W. Bush’s big mistake. A rally was held at the end of the
march where many great speakers voiced their opinions and concerns.
Also, some great folk music was played that was very touching to all
who listened.

————–

All of the reports from cities and towns across the country, as well as
the photo album, can be viewed at
http://www.pephost.org/site/R?i=Dm4sS_le0Gy72suC2Mm5YQ..

PRESS CONTACT: Brian Becker, Sarah Sloan
at (202) 544-3389, (202) 904-7949

A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
Act Now to Stop War & End Racism
http://www.ANSWERcoalition.org
info [at] internationalanswer.org
National Office in Washington DC: 202-544-3389
For media inquiries, call 202-544-3389.

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