Monday, April 11, 2011

National Anti-War Demonstration Held in New York Draws Thousands


Demonstrators Say Next Step for Progressive Movement is May 1 Union Square Rally for Immigrant Rights

The new war in Libya has given rise to a new movement, as the largest anti-war demonstration New York has seen in years took to the streets of Manhattan.

Organizers with the United National Antiwar Committee (UNAC), who called the march, said that the many thousands who marched also opposed the renewed Israeli attacks on Gaza, the bloody quagmire in Afghanistan, drone attacks in Pakistan and permanent military bases in Iraq.

With $38 billion in cuts just announced in Washington, the diverse roster of UNAC speakers said that the billions spent on all the U.S. and U.S.-backed wars should be used instead for jobs and peoples’ needs.

“Today’s demonstration represents a revitalization of the antiwar movement,” said UNAC co-coordinator Marilyn Levin, “this time coming back to life as younger and more diverse. The renewed movement connects the war economy to the cuts in basic necessities we face today and demands that we ‘Bring the War $$ Home’.”

“The march stretched for over 20 blocks at one point,” said UNAC co-coordinator Joe Lomardo, "and featured at least 18 spirited contingents from communities as diverse as immigrant workers, students, trade unions, socialist groups, Muslims, Palestinian, and teachers -- each with their own colorful flags, original banners, drums and chants.”

UNAC made a point of countering the racism and Islamophobia used to justify the wars and occupation. The coalition especially targeted Peter King's recent hearings for deflecting attention from the real problems that plague our world and scapegoating Muslims.

The Muslim Peace Coalition played a significant part in the rally in mobilizing community forces and helping to focus opposition to the rising climate of racism and fear.

Sara Flounders of UNAC member group International Action Center said the large crowd showed it was "possible to build a mass movement that took on powerful propaganda campaigns in the corporate media, such as the war on Libya, the racist scapegoating of Muslims and the attacks on Palestine. If anything, our focus on these issues expanded the scope of the new movement that we’re building,”

Many of the program speakers mentioned Sunday, May 1 and its focus on immigrant and workers rights, as the next big demonstration for the progressive movement, as did many signs and literature.

Protests were held around the world to coincide with this action, including 15 demonstrations in Canada. In Pakistan there were demonstrations in 6 cities. UNAC received word of a planned demonstration in Afghanistan and 10 demonstrations outside major U.S. bases in Iraq.

A demonstration similar to the one in New York is scheduled for April 10 in San Francisco, also called by UNAC.

Videos and photos of the diverse NYC Rally estimated at more than 10,000 can be seen in the following links.


A few of the talks at the April 9 NYC Rally:

Please send other news coverage, video links and photos.

New Yorkers protest US policies

Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:35AM

Thousands of activists have staged a protest rally in New York City to voice concerns over US war and foreign policies as well as the economy and the persisting reduction of social programs.

Scores of peace, labor and community activists took to the streets of the major commercial city on Saturday to call for peace and solidarity with Muslims and an end to US wars abroad, a Press TV correspondent reported.

“I am sick and tired of the elite trying to rule the country, the elite that is only one percent (of the society), ruling the country and getting us into wars that we do not need. Not paying their fair share of taxes while we suffer cutbacks in social programs,” a demonstrator said.

The protesters called on Washington to create more job opportunities in a bid to revive the fragile US economy.

More than 500 organizations also came together from communities across the US to call for an end to government harassment of Muslim immigrants and people of color.

They also called for the restoration of peace and democracy.

Demonstrators shouted “Intifada, Intifada,” an Arabic word meaning uprising and resistance. It is most commonly used as a term for popular resistance against oppression.

During the event, keynote speakers stressed that it was time to end US support for the illegal occupation of Palestine and the war in Libya.

“We are one with the people of Egypt, of Yemen, of Palestine. We are one in opposing the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. We are one with the five million people of Libya…” said Vinie Burrows, an American activist.

The participants in the event stressed that the march was about building unity between the antiwar movement and the Muslim community and to challenge Islamophobia.

U.S.: Thousands gather at anti-war rally in Union Square New York City

Apr 10, 2011

A protest was held Saturday afternoon against U.S. foreign policy and involvement in wars overseas. One man said he had driven more than nine hours from Ohio to attend the rally.

One protester said that instead of shutting down the government they need to shut down the wars. Certainly that would save a great deal of money. Tom Murphy from Brooklyn said:"It's costing $100 million a day.

In the meantime, we are being told that there is no money for badly needed social programs. We don't want war. We want more jobs,"
Carol Kennedy from Pennsylvania and said that the killing of innocent people must stop:"Anytime you have drones and other bombs-they kill people even if your intentions are to kill people like Ghaddafi."

Another protester said:"It's not enough for President Obama to say in his election ‘Yes, we can.' We need to see action. We just see words. We should stop this corruption. We should stop these wars," Since the election of Obama the anti-war movement in the U.S. has been relatively silent.

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