[mgj-discuss] Groups Opposed to War on Iraq Plan Rally - Oct 26th
enrages at bellatlantic.net
Mon Oct 21 12:17:42 EDT 2002
Below is today's Washington Post story about this Weekends big anti-war
protests. The article mentions that members of the DC Statehood Green
Party, the ACC, DAWN, and Left Turn are organizing a local issues feeder
march at 10:30 at the Columbia Heights Metro at 14th and Irving Streets,
NW. Please tell friends. We have lots of great banners including a
lead banner that says "Bush is taking the Shirts off Our Backs to Pay
for this War. During the march dozens of people will be taking off
their shirts for a great photo op! We will arrive at Constitution
Gardens in time for the final ANSWER speakers and for the final leg of
the march ot the White House. Rain or shine - come on out!
Groups Opposed to War on Iraq Plan Rally
Thousands Expected for Speeches, March to White House on Saturday
By Monte Reel
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 21, 2002; Page B01
Thousands plan to rally in Washington this weekend in the capital's
first mass protest of a potential war in Iraq.
Saturday's protest is set to coincide with marches in San Francisco and
abroad, including events in London and Tokyo. The
rally's sponsors predict that, in all, hundreds of thousands will
All of the rallies are being planned by the same coalition of antiwar
and anti-racism groups that organized a pro-Palestinian
march here in April. Police estimated that that event drew 75,000
Organizers of Saturday's protest say that more than 250 buses are bound
for Washington. About half will come from college
campuses, the time-tested spawning pools for protest movements. But a
significant fraction of the rest, organizers said, are
coming from the mosques and Muslim associations that rallied with the
coalition under the Palestinian flag in the spring.
"I think we broke new ground in April, being able to forge alliances
with the grass-roots Muslim community," said Brian Becker,
co-director of the International Action Center, one of the groups that
make up International ANSWER, the coalition that is
organizing the protest. "Trust and a strong bond was established there,
and that has carried over."
The demonstration is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. Saturday at
Constitution Gardens, adjacent to the Vietnam Veterans
Memorial near Constitution Avenue and 21st Street NW. The brief program
will feature several speakers -- Jesse L. Jackson,
Al Sharpton, former attorney general Ramsey Clark and others, including
singer Patti Smith. It will be followed by a march to
the White House.
Saturday's march is not intended to disrupt the city or to create
traffic problems, Becker said. Organizers are promoting it as
being dissimilar to last month's anti-capitalist demonstrations against
the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank,
though some groups that participated in the IMF and World Bank rallies
said last week that they plan a "feeder march."
Activists from groups including the Anti-Capitalist Convergence, the
D.C. Anti-War Network, the D.C. Statehood Green Party
and Left Turn plan to gather at the Columbia Heights Metro stop and
march past residential neighborhoods and the White
House before joining the larger group at Constitution Gardens.
Adam Eidinger, an organizer with the D.C. Statehood Green Party, said
the aim is to get attention. Some protesters are planning
to take off their shirts to protest President Bush's taking "the shirts
off our backs" to pay for the war, he said.
A counter-demonstration is planned by the D.C. chapter of Free Republic,
the national conservative group, from 11 a.m. to 3
p.m. at 17th Street and Constitution Avenue NW.
D.C. Police Chief Charles A. Ramsey said extra officers -- including
platoons from the civil disturbance unit -- will be on the
street. But he said that the peacefulness of April's rally leads him to
believe that Saturday's will also go smoothly.
"They're always very peaceful; you can work with them," Ramsey said of
International ANSWER demonstrators. "They just
want to come in and protest. They don't want to cause any damage."
That reputation has helped organizers attract large numbers from the
Muslim community, according to Mahdi Bray, executive
director of the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation. Because many
immigrated from countries where protests are
not allowed, Bray said, they were initially reluctant to embrace
activism in the United States.
"For a lot of them, the Palestine rally was the first demonstration they
had ever seen," Bray said. "They were concerned --
because they are law-abiding American citizens and patriots -- and they
didn't want to be seen as troublemakers. But now
they've seen they can do that, and that they're not alone."
Bray said protesters believe that the Bush administration has
manufactured a rush to war without sufficient cause and that the
nation's foreign relations strategy is being driven by imperialistic
impulses that infringe on the rights of other people. They said
that a war on Iraq would hurt the Iraqi people more than it would hurt
the Iraqi president.
"Basically, you'd be punishing the wrong folks," Bray said. "Saddam
Hussein is a dictator -- we all understand that. We have
empathy for the people of Iraq, not the regime."
Bush's signing of a resolution last week authorizing the United States
to attack Iraq energized the protest movement, according
to those who are helping to arrange bus trips to Washington.
In Chicago, Bill Massey, an antiwar activist, said he now has enough
people signed up to fill six buses. Two others have been
reserved by a local mosque and a Palestinian advocacy group.
"The majority of people coming are actually not from the Muslim or
Palestinian [communities], although there is a lot of
participation there," Massey said. "Most come from all walks of life.
[It's] a whole new layer of people coming from churches,
from community groups, from everywhere. The African American community,
in particular, is really coming out against this."
At Howard University, Peta Lindsay, a freshman, has been passing out
fliers and spreading the word about the march for
"The response has been overwhelming," said Lindsay, who is helping
International ANSWER coordinate student participation
on college campuses. "And it's not just this October 26 march. There
have been other, ongoing campaigns against the war. But
everyone acknowledges that October 26 will be the mass convergence."
Smaller demonstrations against a potential war with Iraq have become
common in recent weeks across the country. One of the
largest was Oct. 6 in New York, when a crowd of 10,000 to 20,000 rallied
in Central Park. No U.S. rally, however, has
matched the size of the antiwar demonstration in London on Sept. 28,
which drew an estimated 200,000. The British turnout
has become one that some of those coming to Washington hope to match.
"We can show in one space how big this movement is," said Matthew L.
Schwartz, a freshman at the University of Buffalo who
has helped charter two buses to Washington. "When you flood the streets
in masses, you can't ignore the message. You have to
see that people don't want this war."
Staff writers David A. Fahrenthold and Manny Fernandez contributed to
© 2002 The Washington Post Company
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