Bring troops home!
Tens of thousands march against war in Iraq
Tens of thousands march January 27 in Washington to demand end to U.S war in Iraq
BY BRIAN WILLIAMS
WASHINGTON, January 27With signs, banners, and chants demanding, End the war! Bring the troops home now! tens of thousands of people rallied on the National Mall here today and marched through the streets surrounding the U.S. Capitol.
The action was called by United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ), and was endorsed by more than 60 national and local organizations. It attracted protesters from around the country.
Im here to try to stop the killing that has been going on way too long, said Skip Edwards, 61, a veteran of the Vietnam War from Telluride, Colorado. Edwards was one of several veterans of Washingtons wars against Vietnam and Iraq marching. Relatives of soldiers killed in Iraq or currently stationed there marched, as well.
Joshua Despain, 25, who served in the U.S. Army in Fallujah and Ramadi in 2003-04, said his experience changed his point of view. Despain said he went to Iraq neutral on Washingtons role in the country, but was shocked at seeing how people lived there. Despain said he became increasingly concerned by the U.S. military treating Iraqis as less than human.
Several unions organized buses to the rally. These included the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Communications Workers of America, New Jersey Industrial Council, and Social Services Employees Union (SSEU). One bus from Allentown, Pennsylvania, was filled mostly by rail workers, members of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees. SEIU representatives said the union organized about 12 buses from across the country.
Faye Moore, a vice president of SSEU Local 371 in New York, said 66 members of the local, the majority African Americans, came to the march. The war has had a lot of impact on our members, she said. We have members serving over there. We want the troops out now.
U.S. forces in Iraq must get out immediately, said Tracy Miller, a view expressed by a number of protesters. Miller, whose son Cpl. Nicolas Zielkowsky was killed in Fallujah in 2004, was marching as part of the Military Families Speak Out contingent.
Others in the crowd, and many of the march organizers, expressed a different approach, placing their hopes on the Democratic majority in Congress achieving a phased withdrawal. In an interview with the Washington Post two days before the demonstration, UFPJ spokesman Hany Khalil said the purpose of the march was to push for an orderly, speedy, and safe withdrawal of troops from Iraq.
UFPJ includes many pacifist and liberal groups, as well as the Communist Party USA and Committees of Correspondence, a split-off from the CPUSA.
Many of the more than 40 speakers addressing the opening rally elaborated on the point Khalil made. They focused their fire on the Bush administration, including calling for the presidents impeachment. Signs expressing such views were prominent in the crowd.
Fred Mason, president of the Maryland-D.C. AFL-CIO, said the labor federation was backing this action because Bush was leading the country in the wrong direction. He called upon Congress to stop funding efforts for war, death, and destruction and instead redirect resources to rebuild America.
One of the best received speakers was Robert Watada, a retired executive with the State of Hawaii and father of Lt. Ehren Watada, who faces a court-martial for refusing to be deployed to Iraq. The army wants to make my son a political prisoner in this country, Watada said.
Other speakers included Democratic politician Jesse Jackson; Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women; and entertainers Jane Fonda, Tim Robbins, and Susan Sarandon.
After the rally, protesters marched past the Capitol and back along the other side of the Mall.
The crowd included many middle-aged people who had taken part in previous peace rallies, including those against the Vietnam War. A good number of high-school and college students, as well as other youth, took part.
Many demonstrators carried handmade signs. A nonbinding resolution is as useless as a shrubbery in the Oval Office, read one from Ohio. Lt. Watada is a true hero, read another carried made by Myrtle Dill, from Weatherford, Oklahoma. She and five others drove 24 hours to attend the demonstration. This sign has gotten a lot of thumbs up, she said. I never supported this war, though I do support the troops.
Contingents by political and other groups included those by the International Socialist Organization, Young Communist League, Campus Antiwar.net, the antiwar coalition ANSWER, and a number of churches. Stop the war in Iran before it starts, read the banner of the American-Iranian Friendship Committee. Supporters of ANSWER distributed flyers for a similar rally in Washington on March 17, the fourth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
The Young Socialists marched behind the banner, Not one penny, not one person for Washingtons wars. Bring the troops home now! (see article above).
Demonstrators also rallied the same day in Los Angeles and San Francisco (see articles below). In addition, 1,500 people protested in San Diego, 1,400 in Seattle, and 1,000 in Olympia, Washington.
David ArgŁello and Sylvia Hansen from San Diego, Tom Baumann from Minneapolis, Osborne Hart from Philadelphia, Chris Hoeppner from Seattle, and Cindy Jaquith from Pittsburgh, contributed to this article.
BY ARLENE RUBINSTEIN
LOS ANGELES, January 27Chanting No war, no guerra, bring the troops home, now! 3,000 people marched in the rain to the Federal Building here today. The action was sponsored by the January 27 Action Coalition.
This is my first rally, said Katrina Patton, 20, a California State University-Los Angeles student. The Democrats say they are against the war, yet we dont see any progress. Only more soldiers going to Iraq.
This war is escalating, said Zu Kim, a leader of Young Koreans United in Los Angeles. Bring the troops home from Iraqwhether they come from the U.S. or South Korea. The target is working people.
BY BETSEY STONE
SAN FRANCISCO, January 27Led off by protesters carrying a large sign saying, Troops Out Now! more than 7,000 people marched down Market Street to the port of San Francisco today. The protest ended at Pier 33 where demonstrators joined the picket line of Alcatraz ferry workers, who are fighting the union-busting drive of Hornblower Cruises. The company, contracted by the National Parks Service to carry tourists to Alcatraz, refuses to recognize the unions representing the ferry workers.
The action was sponsored by the January 27 Coalition and endorsed by United for Peace and Justice, ANSWER, San Francisco Labor Council, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, International Socialist Organization, Socialist Workers Party, and others.
Ethnic cleansing, new U.S. govt rationalization for war in Iraq
Washington enlists Sunni Arab regimes to squeeze Tehran
U.S. Special Forces carry out new bombing raids in Somalia
Washington may send 2,300 more troops to Afghanistan
Not one penny, or person, for Washingtons wars!
Young Socialists attract support at D.C. rally
No peace party in Congress