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  • TONC-DC Blog & news article (Ann Wilcox)

    Posted by Green Party Peace Network on October 2, 2007

    GPAX Friends: Just wanted to forward a “final” blog from the Troops Out Now March against War at Home and Abroad, held on Saturday 9/29 in DC. The article below gives the Wash Post take on the day; we had at least a couple thousand people there, and the article fails to note that this march came at the end of a full month of anti-war activity in DC. But that’s to be expected!

    Saturday was another sunny and beautiful day. Marchers gathered by the Capitol Reflecting Pool, forming a colorful crowd of students and people of all ages – protesting the war, Katrina, immigrant rights and other issues. A wide range of signs and banners were evident. Speakers including Jared Ball of the Green Party called on marchers to oppose the war, and all social & economic injustice. Sara “Echo” Steiner of the GP Steering Committee co-emceed the rally with her usual energy, and Malik Rahim of the New Orleans Greens and Common Ground also spoke. Reps of Iraq Veterans against the War, Code Pink and other groups also spoke. After a high-energy rally, we marched through the streets of DC, passing FEMA and ICE (customs immigration), bypassing the usual spots such as the White House.

    The rally ended with over 100 students sitting in at Constitution Avenue, later blocking both Const. and Pennsylvania Avenues for over 4 hours! DC police stood by as students set up a “tent city” in the street, danced and chanted. Finally, with numbers dwindling slightly, the group decided to declare the protest ended and come back even stronger next time. By 10:00 pm, most of the tents and structures at the main Encampment were also dismantled. On Sunday, many folks attended a BBQ and fundraiser at the home of Maryland Green Martine Zymandis – a perfect end to a week of activism.

    War Protest Draws Small Crowd

    Participants Cite Public Apathy in Low Turnout
    for Rally at the Capitol

    By Carol D. Leonnig
    The Washington Post, September 30, 2007

    Hundreds of demonstrators, including students and
    families, rallied and marched in downtown
    Washington yesterday to protest the war in Iraq,
    complaining that the Democratic-controlled
    Congress has failed to do the public’s bidding
    and bring U.S. troops home.

    >From an elevated stage in front of the Capitol
    Reflecting Pool, a succession of speakers at the
    “Stop the War” rally urged Congress to stop
    funding the conflict and prevent more deaths of
    soldiers and Iraqi civilians.

    “On September 11, I witnessed almost 3,000 people
    killed in New York,” said John Graham, a
    volunteer emergency medical technician from New
    Jersey who helped treat victims of the World
    Trade Center attack that day six years ago. “Now
    we’ve had more than 3,000 U.S. troops killed in
    Iraq. It’s more than enough. It’s time to stop
    the death.”

    About 3,800 U.S. military personnel have been
    killed since the March 2003 invasion. A Johns
    Hopkins University study estimates that 600,000
    Iraqis have died due to violence since that time.
    The Defense Department puts its estimate at
    150,000.

    Protesters said the billions of dollars being
    spent on the war by the U.S. government could be
    used to address social problems that hurt
    millions of Americans, including failing schools
    and the lack of health insurance.

    “Every time you drop a bomb overseas, you make it
    harder to take care of your people at home,”
    Jared Ball of the District’s Green Party told the
    crowd.

    The rally, organized by the Troops Out Now
    Coalition, drew protesters from the Washington
    area, Philadelphia, New York, New Jersey and
    elsewhere. Police in the District generally do
    not publicly estimate the size of protest
    gatherings. Yesterday’s crowd appeared to number
    fewer than 1,000.

    Near the reflecting pool, a steady stream of
    tourists and others visited the National
    Gallery’s east wing, which is featuring an Edward
    Hopper exhibit. Four blocks away on the Mall,
    thousands were attending the National Book Fair,
    toting yellow satchels given away at the fair as
    they got their books signed or heard readings by
    famous authors.

    Several rallygoers acknowledged that the size of
    the rally illustrated how difficult it is to get
    people in the United States to become activists,
    even though a majority of the public opposes the
    war, according to polls.

    “That’s the biggest problem we’ve got in America:
    apathy,” said former Army Sgt. Adam Kokesh, a
    member of Iraq Veterans Against the War. “And
    one-third of Americans still think Saddam Hussein
    had something to do with the attacks on 9/11.”

    A group of George Washington University antiwar
    activists said they are trying to motivate their
    fellow students, but it’s a struggle.

    “Students should be back on the streets, like
    they were in the movements of the ’60s,” Lara
    Masri said. “But there’s so much indifference.”

    On the stage, the speeches continued at the base
    of the Capitol.

    “We’ve got to recognize that the president is
    addicted to this war,” said the Rev. Lennox
    Yeardwood, president of the Hip Hop Caucus, a
    progressive get-out-the-vote organization based
    in the District. “And this Congress is
    codependent.”
    A great slide-show of photos from the DC rally and march – including the student sit-in. (photos courtesy of Eric Anderson and yellowcakewalk.net) – Ann W

    yellowcakewalk <ycw@yellowcakewalk.net> wrote:

    Photos from
    Troops Out Now
    March on Washington
    September 29, 2007

    http://yellowcakewalk.net

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