Pictures from Fayeteville: By Charles Jenks
March 19 Rally in Fayetteville, NC, a Resounding Success!
Report by North Carolina Peace and Justice Org.: http://www.ncpeacejustice.org/
On the Second Anniversary of the War and Occupation of Iraq, Over 4000 people marched and rallied in Fayetteville, NC, 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.
On Saturday, March 19, 2005, over 4000 people gathering in Fayetteville for a wonderful march and rally spearheaded by vets and military families. People came from all over: Tennessee, Florida, South Carolina, Minnesota, DC, Hawaii, New York. Speakers like Lou Plummer, veteran from Fayetteville, and Mike Hoffman, founder of Iraq Veterans Against the War, electrified the audience. At least 20 active duty GIs defied orders from Ft Bragg to come to listen. Performers included hip hop group Ricanstruction; a bagpipe player; Paperhand Puppet Intervention's performance of "Guernica"; Luci Murphy from DC; and the Cuntry Kings, performing a phenomenal piece featuring a former Air Force member Andy Hanson. A team of 80 Hospitality Committee members helped us build community by convening discussion circles as part of the rally.
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.
The events in Fayetteville on the second anniversary of the war on Iraq consisted of a hip hop concert to mobilize local youth on March 18; a permitted, safe and empowering march and rally on March 19; and a gathering of Southern peace & justice organizers on March 20, held in conjunction with the first national conference of Iraq Veterans Against the War, and a gathering of Military Families Speak Out.
Harlem, New York
March from Harlem to Bloomberg's Mansion says:
"Fund Cities, Not War! Troops Out Now!"
Photos by Troopsoutnow.org
Troops Out Now Coalition, www.TroopsOutNow.org
March 19, 2005 - Today, tens of thousands of people converged on New York City to oppose an illegal war of aggression against the people of Iraq. People drove from as far away as Florida and Minnesota to demand an immediate end to the occupation.
The day began with a rally in Marcus Garvey Park. After the opening rally, more than 15,000 marched to join thousands already gathered in Central Park. 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!"
The turnout for this demonstration confirms that the antiwar movement has entered into a new phase of organizing against the war. It confirms that the greatest attention must be paid to reaching out to communities most impacted by the war and by the policies of the Bush Administration. These communities are the targets of the budget cuts. They are also targeted by military recruiters, who exploit economic hardship with false promises of opportunity. As a result, the children of these communities are dying disproportionately in Iraq, paying the ultimate price for a policy of greed and empire.
Organizers with the Troops Out Now Coalition plan to continue to protest the war and occupation. On May 1, the Troops Out Now Coalition will join the Million Worker March on the streets of New York City in a rally and march to demand, "Jobs, Not War! Bring the Troops Home Now!"
Pictures from Boston: By M. Junaid Alam
Report by M. Junaid Alam, Lefthook.org, Northeastern Univ.
Upwards of 2,000 people attended the anti-war rally held at the Boston Commons on March 20 for several hours. 15 to 20 student activists from Northeastern University Campus Against War and Racism walked from campus to the Commons, holding anti-war signs and sometimes chanting slogans en route. Students from anti-war groups at Boston College and Tufts University also attended the protest.
A diverse array of speakers addressed the crowd, although unfortunately there appeared to be no representatives from the Arab or Muslim community. Speakers did include an Iraqi war veteran, a Vietnam war veteran, mothers of Iraq veterans, member of a bus driver's union, Howard Zinn, rock, Latin, and reggae music bands, and female freestyle poets. Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner also spoke at the event; he was also there to galvanize people to conduct a direct action against the nearby Armed Forces Recruitment Center. However, the center preemptively shut itself down in fear of the protests.
The main physical feature of the rally was a display of mock coffins draped in American flags in honor of those who died in Iraq. Also present was a mobile wooden framework displaying the names, ages, and photographs of US veterans who died in the war. A disheartening proportion of the dead were in the 18-30 age bracket.
At one point, a black police officer approached the display to read some of the names. He was among a contingent of three black police officers who stood off to the side of the display. The rest of the police officers flanked the protest from the opposite side. All of them were white.
Among the participants in the crowd were several community-based anti-war groups, including a chapter of the Veterans for Peace called the Smedley Butler Brigade. Also present were various socialist organizations, including the Socialist Alternative and International Socialist Organization. At one point during the rally, a contingent of about 25-30 young anarchist students circled and snaked their way through other attendees in a small-scale but loud and militant march.
Five members of a Nazi organization appeared to counter protest, maintaining a silence and distance from the main crowd and holding a 13-colony flag. Later on five or six Republican counter protesters also arrived on the scene, and also maintained a distance and relative silence. There were brief and non-violent skirmishes between these forces and two contingents of anarchists clad in black.
One anarchist posted the following account on Indymedia of an unsanctioned march held in the aftermath of the rally, also highlighting reflexive police heavy-handedness in attacking two senior citizen marchers: (read here, last 5 paragraphs) :
San Francisco, California
Report by Michael Smith, University of Berkley
Students March to Say 'College, Not Combat!'
Over 350 participate in Campus Antiwar Network-organized contingent in SF on two-year anniversary of Iraq invasion
This past Saturday in San Francisco, over 15,000 people used the two-year anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq to demand an end to the occupation and that the billions of dollars spent on Bush's wars be used instead of education, jobs, and health care here at home.
One of the most vibrant and exciting contingents in the march - estimated at over 350 people - was organized by the Campus Antiwar Network with the slogans 'College Not Combat' and 'Military Out of Our Schools!'
Throughout the day, students and community supporters in the contingent chanted, 'Don't ask don't tell/take this war and go to hell!' and 'Racist, sexist, anti-gay/military recruiters go away!'
The contingent began with a rally a short distance from the main demonstration sight, with students UC Santa Cruz, UC Davis, San Francisco State, City College of San Francisco, Cal State Hayward, UC Berkeley, Chabot College, and several local high schools participating in a speak out about the need to stop our fellow students from being used as cannon fodder for the US military.
Many students spoke of the importance of anti-recruitment activism and that the US military is missing its recruitment goals for the first time in a decade. The military's continued need for more troops for the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan afford the antiwar movement an opportunity to hit them where it hurts and impede their ability to continue the occupations or launch new invasions of other countries.
In addition, the Campus Antiwar Network signed up students interested in getting involved in anti-recruitment activism and handed out literature on starting a CAN chapter on their campuses.
After the march, students met to plan the upcoming CAN West Coast Regional Conference, scheduled for April 9 at City College of San Francisco.
Anti-recruitment demonstrations, where students confront military recruiters on their campuses in an effort to stand up to the targeted recruitment of low-income students and people of color, the racism, sexism, and homophobia of the US military, and the invasion and occupation of Iraq, have already taken place at San Francisco State and UC Berkeley, as well as campuses from Seattle to New York City.
Report by Stewart Stout, Nevada Students for Peace & Solidarity (NSPS) at the University of Nevada Reno (UNR)
In Reno, Nevada, the Reno Anti-War Coalition and Nevada Students for Peace & Solidarity (NSPS) sponsored a peace fair in front of the downtown Federal Building with about 80 people in attendance on Sunday, March 20. The fair featured a speech delivered on bahalf of Tanya Mayo, national organizer with the Not In Our Name Coalition as well as a speech by Lisa Stiller of the Reno Anti-War Coalition, music and spoken word performances, and a reading of a statement in violation of US Code 18 - Section 2387 by members of NSPS in support of a soldiers right to refuse orders to Iraq.
The event was supported by Sierra Interfaith Action for Peace, Reno Food Not Bombs, and Citizen Alert amongst others, and came on the heels of a local peace summit held on March 19, where area peace groups discussed strategies for ending the war which included counter-recruitment and support for groups fighting to save social programs that are being cut because of war spending.
Report by Christina Prew, Johnson Anti-War Coalition from Vermont. Contact: Prewc@jsc.vsc.edu
Hello all this is Christina from the Johnson Anti-War Coalition from Vermont. Things have been going really well for us here. About 10 of us went down to NYC for the protest, which had a great turnout!
The other day the military recruiters were here and we got them out of here 45 min. early! We had some people chanting, singing and others were simply asking them stupid questions about the military and such. They have permanent stay here but we are organizing big time to get them off. Next week we are planning to have the queer group on campus go and show lots of affection to one another while asking the recruiters if they can join, obviously in confliction with their "don't ask, don't tell" policy! I think this will work out well, especially here in Vermont where same sex relationships are almost completely legitimatized under the law (civil unions). We are hoping to use this to get them out of here for being in violation to our sexual orientation policy. We'll see how it goes.
So we are putting on a panel discussion April 21 and we are looking for an anti-war Arab to be on a panel. If anyone knows of anyone who would be willing to come we'd pick up transportation and provide housing. Please pass the word on and get back to me ASAP.