Monday, October 29, 2007

Thousands Demonstrate Against the War Across the US; Detroit March and Rally Report

Thousands Demonstrate Against the War Across the US

PANW Editor's Note: Yesterday's demonstrations against the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan mobilized thousands of participants. It was stated that the largest marches took place in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York.

In Detroit, the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice (MECAWI) organized a local demonstration that marched through the heart of the African-American community on the west side of the city. Marchers gathered at Zussman Playground (in the pouring rain) on West Davison and continued down Dexter to Joy and Linwood, where a rally was held at the Historic New Bethel Baptist Church.

Sandra Hines of the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality and a candidate for the Detroit Board of Education in the Fifth District, greeted marchers before they left from Zussman Playground. Hines, who is running a grassroots campaign against a corporate-backed incumbent, has gained the support of MECAWI and other progressive organizations throughout the city.

After arriving at New Bethel rally participants heard numerous speakers talk about the relationship between the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the growing crisis in the state of Michigan. Jerry Goldberg of MECAWI called for Gov. Granholm to evoke her emergency powers under the state constitution to declare an economic state of emergency in order to stop foreclosures. Michigan has one of the highest rates of foreclosures in the country.

Malik Shabazz of the New Marcus Garvey Movement spoke to the audience on the lack of political representation in the current presidential campaigns of both democratric and republican candidates. "As a black nationalist I would like to support Obama, but I cannot," Shabazz declared. Clinton does not represent the interest of black people either."

Debbie Johnson of the Detroit Action Network for Reproductive Rights (DANFORR) discussed the contradictions in the supposed pro-life positions of conservatives who often refuse to support social programs for women and children who need assistance.

A representative of the Green Party of Detroit brought a message of solidarity stating that "we are the only anti-war party that has nationwide ballot status in the United States."

Anti-war activists also spoke from Wyandotte and Ann Arbor. They traveled to Detroit to participant in the demonstrations which focused on both domestic racism as well as the American intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Marchers were greeted in the streets with salutes and honking horns of support. A sound car leading the march projected anti-war slogans along with progressive music. MECAWI activists distributed t-shirts and buttons calling for the ending of racism and the immediate withdrawl of United States troops from Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and Colombia.

MECAWI encouraged rally participants to attend their weekly meeting that are held at 5922 Second avenue every Wednesday evening beginning at 7:00pm.

Attached below is an article released on the October 27 demonstration from the Associate Press in San Francisco.

For more information on MECAWI just log on to the following URL:

Thousands Protest Iraq War Across U.S.

Associated Press Writer
12:05 AM EDT, October 28, 2007

Thousands of people called for a swift end to the war in Iraq as they marched through downtown on Saturday, chanting and carrying signs that read: "Wall Street Gets Rich, Iraqis and GIs Die" or "Drop Tuition Not Bombs."

The streets were filled with thousands as labor union members, anti-war activists, clergy and others rallied near City Hall before marching to Dolores Park.

As part of the demonstration, protesters fell on Market Street as part of a "die in" to commemorate the thousands of American soldiers and Iraqi citizens who have died since the conflict began in March 2003.

The protest was the largest in a series of war protests taking place in New York, Los Angeles and other U.S. cities, organizers said.

No official head count was available. Organizers of the event estimated about 30,000 people participated in San Francisco. It appeared that more than 10,000 people attended the march.

"I got the sense that many people were at a demonstration for the first time," said Sarah Sloan, one of the event's organizers. "That's something that's really changed. People have realized the right thing to do is to take to the streets."

In the shadow of the National Constitution Center and Independence Hall in Philadelphia, a few hundred protesters ranging from grade school-aged children to senior citizens called on President Bush to end funding for the war and bring troops home.

Marchers who braved severe wet weather during the walk of more than 30 blocks were met by people lining the sidewalks and clutching a long yellow ribbon over the final blocks before Independence Mall. There, the rally opened with songs and prayers by descendants of Lenape Indians.

"Our signs are limp from the rain and the ground is soggy, but out spirits are high," said Bal Pinguel, of the American Friends Service Committee, one of the national sponsors of the event. "The high price we are paying is the more than 3,800 troops who have been killed in the war in Iraq."

Vince Robbins, 51, of Mount Holly, N.J., said there needed to be more rallies and more outrage.

"Where's the outcry? Where's the horror that almost 4,000 Americans have died in a foreign country that we invaded?" Robbins said. "I'm almost as angry at the American people as I am the president. I think Americans have become apathetic and placid about the whole thing."

In New York, among the thousands marching down Broadway was a man carrying cardboard peace doves. Some others dressed as prisoners, wearing the bright orange garb of Guantanamo Bay inmates and pushing a person in a cage.

Chicago police said about 5,000 people marched through city streets to protest the war.

Police spokeswoman JoAnn Taylor said three protesters were arrested before the march started. They face charges including resisting arrest, failure to obey a police officer, criminal damage to property and aggravated battery to a police officer.

In Seattle, thousands of marchers were led by a small group of Iraq war veterans.

At Occidental Park, where the protesters rallied after the march, the American Friends Service Committee displayed scores of combat boots, one pair for each U.S. solider killed in Iraq.

Associated Press writer Bob Lentz in Philadelphia contributed to this report.

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