Sept. 24 Anit-War Demonstrators Flood DC, San Francisco,
Largest Anti-War Rally to Date
September 25, 2005
Anti-War Fervor Fills the Streets
By Petula Dvorak
The Washington Post
Sunday 25 September 2005
Demonstration is largest in capital since US military invaded
Tens of thousands of people packed downtown Washington yesterday
and marched past the White House in the largest show of antiwar sentiment
in the nation's capital since the conflict in Iraq began.
The demonstration drew grandmothers in wheelchairs and babies
in strollers, military veterans in fatigues and protest veterans in tie-dye.
It was the first time in a decade that protest groups had a permit to march
in front of the executive mansion, and, even though President Bush was not
there, the setting seemed to electrify the crowd.
Signs, T-shirts, slogans and speeches outlined the cost of
the Iraq conflict in human as well as economic terms. They memorialized
dead U.S. troops and Iraqis, and contrasted the price of war with the price
of recovery for areas battered by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Riffs on
Vietnam-era protests were plentiful, with messages declaring, "Make
Levees, Not War," "I never thought I'd miss Nixon" and "Iraq
is Arabic for Vietnam." Many in the crowd had protested in the 1960s;
others weren't even born during those tumultuous years.
Protest organizers estimated that 300,000 people
participated, triple their original target. D.C. Police
Chief Charles H. Ramsey, who walked the march route, said the protesters
achieved the goal of 100,000 and probably exceeded it. Asked whether at
least 150,000 showed up, the chief said, "That's as good a guess as
"It's their protest, not mine. It was peaceful -- that's
all I care about," Ramsey said.
The protesters rallied at the Ellipse, then marched through
a misty drizzle around the White House and along Pennsylvania Avenue NW.
The crowd thinned as events continued into the evening with a concert on
the grounds of the Washington Monument that featured Joan Baez and other
performers, along with antiwar speeches.
The police presence along the demonstration's route seemed
more relaxed than at recent protests, although D.C. police and U.S. Park
Police had hundreds of officers in place to deal with potential trouble.
Police said a construction fence was torn down and a newspaper box damaged,
but they reported no injuries or major problems. They said three people
were arrested -- one on a charge of destruction of property, one on a charge
of attempted theft and one on a charge of disorderly conduct.
More than 200 counter-demonstrators set up outside the FBI
building on Pennsylvania Avenue, and some back-and-forth yelling occurred
as the antiwar marchers moved past. "Shame on you! Shame on you!"
one counter-protester shouted at the antiwar group. Several dozen officers
stood between the two groups, and no trouble erupted, police said.
Some organizations supporting the war in Iraq plan to demonstrate
today on the Mall.
Antiwar groups staged smaller rallies yesterday in Los Angeles,
San Francisco, Seattle, London, Rome and other cities. In Washington, the
events were sponsored by groups including the ANSWER Coalition and United
for Peace and Justice and focused on a succinct theme: "End the War
in Iraq and Bring the Troops Home Now."
Roughly 147,000 U.S. troops are in Iraq. Since the war began
in March 2003, 1,911 U.S. members of the military have been killed and 14,641
have been wounded.
The protest groups helped organize caravans and carpools,
and many participants began arriving early in the morning after bumpy, all-night
Leslie Darling, 60, came from Cleveland with four friends
and said it was her first antiwar protest. She said she was moved by what
happened after Hurricane Katrina.
"It made clear that while we spend all this money trying
to impose our will on other countries, here at home in our own country,
we can't take care of each other," she said.
When the bus coming from Kalamazoo, Mich., pulled up to Freedom
Plaza on Pennsylvania Avenue, Sister Maureen Metty, 56, stretched her legs
and prepared for a brand-new experience.
"There were 250 sisters who wanted to be here today,
but I'm the one they chose to send," she said. She carried a sign that
read "Sisters of St. Joseph's for Peace," a folding stool and
a backpack with snacks, her toothbrush and toothpaste. She snapped a flurry
of pictures for the sisters back home, took a deep breath and headed into
People came to the Mall and Ellipse in waves. Organizers
said that several thousand never got there because of an Amtrak breakdown
on the New York-to-Washington line in the morning. Others who took Metro
faced delays because of repairs on the Yellow and Blue lines.
Once protesters arrived, they joined throngs headed toward
the rally on the Ellipse, which featured numerous speakers, including the
Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, actress Jessica Lange and Cindy Sheehan, the California
woman who drew thousands of demonstrators to her 26-day vigil outside Bush's
Crawford, Tex., ranch last month and was the inspiration for many protesters
yesterday. Her son, Casey, 24, was killed in Iraq last year.
"This is amazing!" Sheehan said. "You're part
Some of the biggest applause went to someone not even on
the program. Adam Hathaway, an 8-year-old who became lost while mingling
in the crowds. Before he was separated from his mother, Adam was showing
people his jar of pennies and proclaiming that "President Bush is taking
lots of this and using it in the war."
Several announcements were made seeking help in finding the
blond boy from Maine. He was reunited with his mother, Julia Hathaway, as
the crowd cheered.
Bush was not around to hear the protesters filing past the
White House. He spent the day at command centers in Texas and Colorado,
where he assessed Hurricane Rita recovery efforts. Vice President Cheney
was undergoing surgery at George Washington University Hospital to treat
aneurysms on the back of his knees.
Bush and Cheney were depicted on posters, T-shirts and in
makeshift costumes. Several demonstrators wore masks of Bush's likeness
and prison jumpsuits. They were often asked to pose for photographs.
Many protesters said they had opposed the action in Iraq
all along but were emboldened to demonstrate after polls showed that a majority
of Americans disapprove of Bush's handling of the war.
The masses on the street served up a broad cross section
of the United States by age, geography religion and ethnic group. The Raging
Grannies, Presbyterians for Peace, Portuguese Against Bush and a group of
Quakers were there. The Buddhist Peace Delegation took up most of 14th Street
NW with its golden banner that read: "May all beings be safe and free
from anger, fear, greed, dilution and all ill being."
Protest organizers made special note of military participants
in the antiwar effort.
Army 1st Sgt. Frank Cookinham, with a Special Forces patch
on one shoulder, scorpion tattoos crawling across the back of his neck and
"LOCO" permanently inked on his Adam's apple stands out in most
crowds. He was pretty uncomfortable yesterday.
"I've never done this before, but here I am, in uniform,
figuring this is the only way I can shove it to Bush," said Cookinham,
of Newport, R.I., a Persian Gulf War veteran who recently returned from
a second tour in Iraq. "This war makes no sense."
Marching past the Treasury Building, Steven Olsen, 57, and
his wife, Brenda, 49, of Yonkers, N.Y., held signs bearing a photo of their
son, an Army Reserve sergeant sent to Iraq after enrolling in medical school.
"I hear from him about once a month," said Brenda
as her husband gently waved a placard that said, "Proud of my soldier:
Ashamed of this war."
Staff writers Karlyn Barker, Jo Becker, Susan Levine, David
Nakamura, Robert E. Pierre, Amit R. Paley and Del Quentin Wilber contributed
to this report.
Thousands Protest the Iraq War
By Kathleen Sullivan, Chris Heredia, Janine DeFao and Todd Wallack
The San Francisco Chronicle
Saturday 24 September 2005
SF also crowded with Love Parade revelers.
Tens of thousands of people marched in San Francisco
and the East Bay today to urge the U.S. government to pull
out of Iraq, joining anti-war protests in Washington and other cities.
Elsewhere in the city, thousands of people grooved to the
sound of electronic music along Market Street and at Civic Center Plaza.
And tonight, thousands more are expected to rock-out at SBC Park to Green
Day, the celebrity punk band born in Berkeley.
Police estimated 20,000 people marched today. Organizers
pegged the crowd at 50,000. Either way, it was one of the largest anti-war
protests since the U.S. invaded Iraq two years ago. Protesters gathered
in San Francisco's Dolores Park this morning, then marched for two hours
to Jefferson Square Park, where the park was jammed with a standing room
only crowd of bodies.
As they marched, people carried signs expressing outrage
at everything from the war in Iraq to President Bush to the treatment of
Palestinians. One man, dressed as Uncle Sam, carried an American flag with
a peace sign.
A sixth-grader from San Jose held a handmade sign that said
"No war ever more" on one side and "No war anymore"
on the other. "I am going to be a conscientious objector," said
Dominic Dello Bueno, 11, who was there with his father and younger sister.
"I vote for peace not war." Some participants said they have been
actively protesting the war for months or years.
"I write letters," said Isabelle Corkins, 47, of
Alameda, who with her husband and 4-year-old daughter. "This is the
only thing left that gives me a sense of doing something."
A student from Laney College in Oakland prepared to help
carry a procession of black coffins, built to represent Iraqi children who
have died in the conflict.
"The idea is that we will stop protesting just because
the war is continuing, but we won't," said Maryjane Jota, 20. "Just
because it's old news, doesn't mean that it's old news to the people who
Douglas Fisher, 61, held a large rainbow flag that said "Peace"
in Italian. He said he got the flag in Sicily, and has taken part in several
peace marches to oppose the war.
"Somebody said it was a great day for a march,"
he said. "I was thinking it would be great if we didn't have to come
down here anymore."
Along a grassy median on Dolores Street, people set up 40
large placards marking casualties from the war. Each poster carried 60 photos
and drawings, representing American soldiers and Iraqi citizens who have
been killed in the conflict. (The U.S. military estimates that at least
1,900 soliders have died, and thousands more have been wounded in Iraq.)
Jim Haber, 43, said the posters were designed to "show
the human cost of the war." At least a half dozen counter-protesters,
including a group of college Republicans from San Francisco State University,
turned out to the military effort in Iraq.
One held a handmade sign that said "Hey, losers. Stop
demoralizing the troops."
Another said he thinks the U.S. military will need to remain
in Iraq for years to help the country establish a democracy. He said he
thought most of the protesters were radicals who wanted to overthrow the
"There is a different way to peace," said Leigh
Wolf, a 19-year-old broadcast major. "This work can come to an end
with patriotism instead of a socialist revolution."
By late afternoon, the crowd at Jefferson Park had thinned
A smaller protest was also held in Walnut Creek, where about
250 to 300 people marched from the city's Bart station to Heather Farms
The demonstration drew a wide range of people - from seniors
to kids- holding peace signs. Many drivers honked noisily as they drove
by marchers on Ignacio Valley Road, though some gave a thumbs down sign
or a middle finger.
A 52-year-old lawyer said he joined the protest because of
her outrage at the federal government's sluggish response to Hurricane Katrina.
Faith Brewer said she thought the problem was exacerbated because too many
resources were diverted to Iraq.
"Too many people died in New Orleans, because of the
war in Iraq," she said.
Brewer said she was particularly motivated to march in Walnut
Creek, her hometown, because it's considered a more conservative city in
the liberal region.
"People tend to think that nobody here is against the
war in Iraq - that all the leftist, peaceniks are in San Francisco,"
Others held signs supporting peace and a pull-out of Iraq.
On said "Moms against the War." Another read, "Bring the
troops home now." A third said "Peace is Patriotic." Unlike
some other war protests, the focus appeared to be squarely on Iraq.
Sondra Runyan, who has a daughter in the Coast Guard, said
she worried that Americans have become inured to the news of soldiers dying
"It seems when you turn on the radio, they mention we
lost two or three soldiers, and then they're off to the sports scores,"
said Runyan, 47, of Martinez. "People are immune to the pain these
families are going through. This is destroying families."
Contra Costa County Supervisor Mark DeSaulnier, who attended
the rally, said he plans to propose a resolution next month in support of
Congressional legislation to set a deadline to withdraw U.S. forces from
"I don't see this as being out of mainstream,"
DeSaulnier said, as he looked over the crowd . "It may be the tip of
"If enough local elected speak out, we could be saving
lives," he added.
The Walnut Creek rally ended peacefully at about 2 p.m.
Meanwhile, thousands of electronic music lovers gathered
along Market Street for the 1 p.m. start of the city's second annual Loveparade.
The parade, featuring 24 floats with more than 200 disc jockeys
from as far away as Israel, was expected to head slowly along Market Street,
ending in a massive dance party at City Hall and the surrounding Civic Center
An estimated 30,000 to 35,000 people showed up for the festival
last year, and organizers hope to double that tally this year.
Though precise crowd estimates weren't available, the sidewalks
were packed 12-people deep in some places along Market Street as dance party
regulars mixed with tourists. "Can you feel the love? It's contagious,"
said Brian Tene, 27, of Daly City, dressed in a Superman outfit, complete
with a red cape and sculpted foam chest. "Look at everyone being themselves
and being free."
Loveparade was first launched in Berlin in 1989, with the
idea that techno music would help bridge the cultures of East and West Berlin
after the fall of the Berlin Wall. While the Berlin event is now defunct,
other Loveparades had popped up around the globe, including Mexico City
and Tel Aviv.
The San Francisco event - which includes not only Euro-inspired
techno music but hip hop, house, jungle, funk, progressive and trance music
- has continued the theme that music celebrates diversity, promotes tolerance
and fosters community.
"The music sort of joins everyone together," said
parade spokeswoman Jennifer Manger. "If we can put all the music in
one place, we can join those subcultures together in a community of love."
The Green Day concert was expected to begin at 7 p.m., ensuring
traffic snarls would continue throughout the day. A BART commuter reported
trains were jammed.
Thousands March to Demand Withdrawal of Troops
By Tom Anderson
The Independent UK
Sunday 25 September 2005
More than 10,000 protesters descended on London
yesterday for a mass demonstration against the war in Iraq.
Many of the protesters, who marched from Parliament Square
to Hyde Park blowing whistles and carrying placards, were demanding the
immediate withdrawal of British troops.
Buses were used to bring people from all over Britain to
join the demonstration, organised by the Stop the War Coalition.
Scotland Yard estimated that crowds had swollen to 10,000
people by the time the march reached Hyde Park in the early afternoon, although
organisers put the numbers at up to 100,000. Other marches were planned
for the United States.
Andrew Murray, chairman of the Stop the War Coalition, said
people were marching to show their solidarity with Muslims bearing "the
brunt of attacks" in Iraq.
He told the crowd: "We cannot say how many are here,
but there are certainly tens of thousands from all over the country marching
above all to bring the troops home from Iraq and end the bloody disastrous
The former Labour MP Tony Benn, who also took part in the
demonstration, described the war as "unwinnable" and said it had
been waged "for oil and power".
"We demand that troops come out of Iraq and that a date
is set now," he said.
The demonstration, which was the 12th to be held over the
past few years, began outside the Houses of Parliament where protests have
been banned under new laws.
Peter Brierley, from Batley in West Yorkshire, whose son
Shaun, 28, died in Kuwait in 2003, said: "My son was betrayed by Blair.
If the Government do not bring them out, there will be more families like
For Sue Smith, who lost her son in a roadside explosion in
Basra two months ago, the day was highly emotional. She choked back tears
as she read out a letter delivered to Downing Street earlier yesterday,
begging Tony Blair to withdraw British troops.
"Seven weeks ago we saw our son for the last time in
a coffin at the chapel of rest," she said.
"You can never know how it feels, but you have the power
to stop it happening again. You made the decision to go to Iraq and you
can make the decision to get our sons and daughters out of there."
British soldier Lance Corporal George Solomou, who refused
his call-up to serve in Iraq, was near the front of the protest as it made
its way to Trafalgar Square and on to Hyde Park.
He said: "I am here to show my solidarity. The British
people are realising they have been told more and more lies about this war."
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