San Francisco tops Sept. 27 anti-war mobilization

From AP, Oct. 27:

SAN FRANCISCO – Thousands of people called for a swift end to the war in Iraq as they marched through downtown on Saturday, chanting and carrying signs that read: “Wall Street Gets Rich, Iraqis and GIs Die” or “Drop Tuition Not Bombs.”

The streets were filled with thousands as labor union members, anti-war activists, clergy and others rallied near City Hall before marching to Dolores Park.

As part of the demonstration, protesters fell on Market Street as part of a “die in” to commemorate the thousands of American soldiers and Iraqi citizens who have died since the conflict began in March 2003.

The protest was the largest in a series of war protests taking place in New York, Los Angeles and other U.S. cities, organizers said.

No official head count was available. Organizers of the event estimated about 30,000 people participated in San Francisco. It appeared that more than 10,000 people attended the march.


In the shadow of the National Constitution Center and Independence Hall in Philadelphia, a few hundred protesters ranging from grade school-aged children to senior citizens called on President Bush to end funding for the war and bring troops home.

Marchers who braved severe wet weather during the walk of more than 30 blocks were met by people lining the sidewalks and clutching a long yellow ribbon over the final blocks before Independence Mall. There, the rally opened with songs and prayers by descendants of Lenape Indians.

“Our signs are limp from the rain and the ground is soggy, but out spirits are high,” said Bal Pinguel, of the American Friends Service Committee, one of the national sponsors of the event. “The high price we are paying is the more than 3,800 troops who have been killed in the war in Iraq.”


In New York, among the thousands marching down Broadway was a man carrying cardboard peace doves. Some others dressed as prisoners, wearing the bright orange garb of Guantanamo Bay inmates and pushing a person in a cage.

Chicago police said about 5,000 people marched through city streets to protest the war.

Police spokeswoman JoAnn Taylor said three protesters were arrested before the march started. They face charges including resisting arrest, failure to obey a police officer, criminal damage to property and aggravated battery to a police officer.

In Seattle, thousands of marchers were led by a small group of Iraq war veterans.

At Occidental Park, where the protesters rallied after the march, the American Friends Service Committee displayed scores of combat boots, one pair for each U.S. solider killed in Iraq.

The main organizer, United for Peace & Justice, puts total participation coast-to-coast at more than 100,000. The Oct. 27 mobilization website Fall Out Against War reports 11 marches were held a across the country, including in Boston, Salt Lake City, New Orleans, Orlando and Jonesborough, TN.

See our last post on the anti-war effort.

  1. Canadians march against Afghan mission
    From the Canadian Press, Oct. 27:

    MONTREAL – Umbrellas outnumbered placards as hundreds of rain-soaked demonstrators hit the streets of Montreal on Saturday to denounce Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan.

    Close to 300 protesters waving signs scrawled with messages such as “Canada out! Stop killing civilians!” and “War isn’t a solution” marched through the downtown core…

    Montreal’s 10-kilometre march, which unfolded below a relentless downpour, was one of 23 scheduled Saturday in Canadian cities.

    The nationwide demonstrations were also geared to coincide with 11 anti-war protests planned in the U.S…

    Matt Jones, a member of the anti-war group that organized the protest, said all foreign troops should pull out of Afghanistan.

    “We don’t see any evidence of progress in Afghanistan,” said Jones, who pointed to women’s rights as an example.

    “We see that women are still afraid to go to school, to participate in social life.”

    Meanwhile, Radio-Canada reported some 200 demonstrators called for an end to the mission outside Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office in Ottawa.

    The Conservative government is under public and political pressure to bring Canadian troops home when the current mandate expires in February 2009. Some are calling for an immediate withdrawal.

    But Harper’s throne speech indicates the government wants Canada to maintain its direct involvement in the Asian country until 2011.

    Defence Minister Peter MacKay said the very fact the demonstrations could take place Saturday indicated why Canada should be taking part in the Afghan mission.

    “This is exactly the type of freedom and expression that we enjoy in this country, that we’re able to demonstrate, that we are hoping to establish in a place like Afghanistan,” MacKay said in a telephone interview from New Glasgow, N.S.

    The minister said the presence of Canadian troops creates security, which is directly related to promoting democracy, including freedom of expression.

    “I implore people who are out in the streets and who are expressing themselves to keep in mind that were we to follow that direction (to withdraw the troops), Canada, in my view, would be stepping away from the very rights they hope to demonstrate.”

    See our last posts on Canada and Afghanistan.