Oct. 27 Protests Throughout the United States
See below for Associated Press, San Francisco Chronicle and TV coverage
The October 27 demonstrations represented another important step forward for the anti-war movement in the United States.
Over 100,000 people took to the streets in coordinated regional and local protests to demand an immediate end to the war in Iraq. The October 27 demonstrations took place just six weeks after the September 15 National March and Die-In in Washington, D.C. that was led by Iraq War Veterans and family members of soldiers and marines.
We have included below a brief summary from some of the events that took place yesterday, along with Associated Press, San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco television coverage. (San Francisco march of 30,000 pictured here.)
Anti-war sentiment is growing. The demonstrations yesterday, like the September 15 March on Washington, were noteworthy for the large number of young people – students and young workers – who are joining the front ranks of the anti-war movement in the United States. The Arab American and Muslim community was well represented. The participation of Iraq War Veterans and their families continues to grow. The energy and spirit of the demonstration is an indicator that the people of this country are fed up with the criminal war and occupation of Iraq.
Everyday, the corporate-dominated media tries to convince people that the anti-war movement is shrinking. That is a lie, as you can see from the reports below. The same media lies to the people about the so-called progress made by the “surge” in Iraq. The truth is that the U.S. military occupation of Iraq cannot succeed. The Iraqi people insist on their right to determine their own destiny. The people of the United States, who have no voice in either the Republican or Democratic Parties or in the big business media, are determined to find a way to end the war, which has taken hundreds of thousands of lives and costs $3 billion each week.
The ANSWER Coalition, UFPJ and hundreds of other groups organized for the October 27 protests. What is needed now is to intensify the mass organization of the people. As it was in Vietnam, it will be the people, not the politicians, who will bring this imperialist war to an end. Check the ANSWER Coalition website for regular updates and reports on future steps for the anti-war movement.
More than 30,000 people marched in San Francisco in a demonstration sponsored by the October 27 Coalition, which was initiated by the ANSWER Coalition. The demonstration was endorsed by over 150 political, religious, labor and community organizations, including all seven Bay Area Central Labor Councils. Speakers included Cindy Sheehan, leaders of the Arab American and Muslim community, American Indian Movement co-founder Dennis Banks, Episcopal Bishop of California Mark Handley Andrus, and prominent labor union leaders from the Bay Area. The march included a dramatic Die-In on Market Street where the crowd lay down to symbolize the almost 3,900 U.S. and over 1 million Iraqi deaths in the war. The march included a strong labor contingent numbering nearly 1,000 and including banners from many different unions.
In Los Angeles, nearly 20,000 people marched through downtown to the federal building for a mass rally and Die-In. The California fire catastrophe did not keep people from registering their opposition to the Iraq war in a major way. The demonstration was overwhelmingly youthful, with students pouring into the march from hundreds of Southern California schools. More than 250 people joined the youth and student contingent organized by Youth & Student ANSWER. Others lined the front banners, chanting “Iraq for Iraqis, troops out now!” and “Alto a la guerra, stop the war!”
After the march, almost everyone present participated in a mass symbolic Die-In. Ian Thompson of the ANSWER Coalition introduced the Die-In while masses of people lay down. Thundering sound effects of air raids and bombs exploding punctuated the action, followed by a solemn minute of silence for the Iraqis and U.S. soldiers killed in the war. As protesters rose up after the Die-In, all chanted “Stop the war!” Preston Wood of ANSWER and Greg Akili of African Americans Against the War spoke about the cost of war on people in the United States, urging everyone present to become organizers in the anti-war movement. Muna Coobtee of the National Council of Arab Americans spoke about the dire conditions facing Iraqis due to the imperialist occupation. Other speakers included actors Martin Sheen (“The West Wing”), Mike Farrell (“MASH”) and Mark Ruffalo (“Zodiac”). ANSWER initiated the protest, which was organized by the Oct. 27 Stop the War Coalition, a broad array of progressive, anti-war and social justice organizations.
In Seattle, at least 7,000 people marched. Buses and carpools came from the entire Northwest Region – from Eugene and Portland, Oregon; Olympia, Tacoma, Everett, Mt. Vernon, Bellingham and elsewhere in Washington State. There was a youth-and-community-oriented opening program, followed by a march and lively rally. Speakers included Fatimah Magsombol, Mindanao Bagsomoro Caucus; Michael Dixon, community activist; Chanan Suarez Diaz, President, Seattle IVAW; Jeff Johnson, research director, Washington State Labor Council, speaking on behalf of WSLC chairman Rick Bender; Aracely Hernandez, Committee for General Amnesty and Social Justice; Wally Cuddeford and Caitlyn Esworthy, Port Militarization Resistance; Dr. Goudarz Eghtedari, American Iranian Friendship Council; MCs Cedric Walker, Jane Cutter of Seattle ANSWER and Marie Marchand of Whatcom Peace and Justice Center in Bellingham.
In Chicago, tens of thousands marched. Organizers for the October 27 Mobilization Committee, the sponsoring group, estimated the crowd at 30,000. The demonstration was the largest demonstration yet protesting the U.S. war and occupation of Iraq to take place in Chicago. ANSWER organizers said at least half of the participants were students and other young people. The demonstration was very multinational with strong representation from the African American community. There was a labor contingent from Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and a smaller contingent from the Teamsters Union. The ANSWER Coalition in Chicago had distributed tens of thousands of flyers and posters to help mobilize for the demonstration.
New York City
The New York City demonstration was initiated by United for Peace and Justice. There was a strong turnout despite a steady downpour. UFPJ organizers estimated the crowd at 45,000. The ANSWER Coalition mobilized people from many cities on the East Coast and organized a spirited student and youth contingent.
The heart of Boston was filled with anti-war energy on Saturday afternoon, as some 7,500 took to the streets in protest of the war in Iraq. Braving inclement New England weather, veterans, students, seasoned activists and many first-time protesters from throughout the region rallied in Boston Commons. Led by veterans organizations and military families, thousands later marched to Copley Square, demanding “Bring all the troops home now!” one of five principal demands. Speakers at the rally included Melida and Carlos Arrendondo, historian Howard Zinn and Liam Madden of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW). New England United, a coalition of local and regional organizations, organized the demonstration and march. The ANSWER Coalition mobilized people from Boston and several other cities in New England and organized a spirited student and youth contingent.
Regional and Local Demonstrations Nationally
Regional and local demonstrations also took place in Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Jonesborough and Chattanooga (Tennessee), Salt Lake City, Denver, Rochester and elsewhere.
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