At demonstrations called by the ANSWER Coalition, more than 25,000 people marched through the streets of San Francisco, while another 20,000 took to the streets in Los Angeles. The two West Coast demonstrations were the largest of the over 500 actions in the United States that were scheduled as part of a global day of action marking the third anniversary of the war of aggression against Iraq. The ANSWER Coalition’s demonstrations, and the call to action issued by A.N.S.W.E.R. in early November, explicitly connected the Iraq war with the ongoing assault against the Palestinian people, the U.S. overthrow of the Haitian government, and the intensifying threats and intervention against Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, and the Philippines. The call to action also linked the antiwar movement to the struggle against racism and for workers’ rights at home, highlighting the government’s racist and criminal negligence of the people of New Orleans and the other areas ravaged by the hurricane.
At the Los Angeles demonstration, which began at 12 noon at Hollywood and Vine, speakers included Academy Award winner, Paul Haggis, Vietnam War Veteran Ron Kovic, and Golden Globe nominated actress Maria Bello.
In San Francisco, the 25,000 strong antiwar demonstrators showed their solidarity with hotel workers who have been working without a contract, by marching to the Hilton hotel, one of fourteen hotels being boycotted by the labor movement. A militant delegation of hotel workers were part of the demonstration and set up a rally at the hotel as the march passed by. The keynote speaker in San Francisco was Malik Rahim, a leader of Common Ground Relief in New Orleans. The march included a very multinational and diverse crowd, including strong contingents from the Palestinian community, the Filipino community, and a very large contingent from the American Indian Movement.
In Seattle, the ANSWER Coalition initiated a demonstration of 2,000 people. In Chicago, feeder marches took place around the city, including in total thousands of protesters. As we write, the Chicago’s activities have not yet completed. In New York City, several thousand demonstrators rallied at Times Square, in an action initiated by TONC, and marched to the U.N. In Fayetteville, North Carolina, home of Fort Bragg, 1,200 rallied. Hundreds of other antiwar actions have taken place across the U.S. today.
In New York City tomorrow, Sunday, March 19, there will be a Youth & Student March and Speakout taking place in the Bronx. Assemble at 1pm at Grand Concourse and Tremont [take the D train]. At 2pm, the march will proceed up Grand Concourse to the Recruitment Center at Fordham & Grand Concourse. In front of the recruitment center, there will be a youth & student speakout, as well as with spoken word & hip hop performances.
Throughout the next day, the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition website, http://www.answercoalition.org/, will report on a large number of the other demonstrations that took place in the United States and around the world.