Fifth anniversary of war protested across the country

By LeiLani Dowell

NYC FIST

Houston
Houston
WW photo: Gloria Rubac

As the fifth anniversary of the criminal U.S. occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan neared, tens of thousands hit the streets on Mar. 15 calling for an end to the war. In Los Angeles marchers targeted CNN at the corner of Sunset and Cahuenga chanting, “CNN, can’t you see? Put the peace march on TV!”

In Atlanta, 10 women from Grandmothers for Peace were arrested for showing up at a recruiting center and attempting to enlist.

San Diego
San Diego
WW photo: Gloria Verdieu

Cristóbal Hinojosa, with Mexicanos en Acción, spoke at a militant anti-war rally in Houston. He blasted the U.S. government for five years of war in Iraq, which has taken the money so desperately needed by working people in this country and murdered Iraqi people. “With the war on Iraq in the Middle East and a war on immigrants in this country, this government is not working in our interest,” Hinojosa said. “We need to get out of Iraq now!” The rally was sponsored by the Progressive Workers Organizing Committee and endorsed by Troops Out Now Coalition, Latin American Organization for Immigrant Rights, Houston Peace and Justice Center, International Socialist Organization, Justice for Palestinians, Progressive Action Alliance, the Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement and the local Green Party.

Cleveland youth protest

Planned just one week in advance, a march of 100 people, mostly youth, went through the streets of downtown Cleveland on March 20 displaying the Iraqi flag, the anarchist black flag, and countless banners and placards condemning the war in Iraq. It was called not by traditional anti-war groups and peace organizations but by the Shaker H

eights High School chapter of Students for a Democratic Society, which had formed earlier in the month.

Some 50 students from Shaker had defied school regulations and walked out to attend the demonstration. Another 30 young people from Lakeland Community College joined them. Supporters of Workers World Party, the Revolutionary Communist Party and the Northeast Ohio Anti-War Coalition were present, as was the Baldwin-Wallace Chapter of Fight Imperialism–Stand Together.

FIST members carried the Iraqi flag to show solidarity with the resistance. Other FIST members distributed the group’s newsletter “Young and Furious” as well as Workers World newspaper.

One FIST member spoke to the crowd about the horrors of the war in Iraq. When he announced he was a Marxist, the crowd burst into applause. The applause grew louder when he said he felt the country needed a socialist revolution.

Chants of “Stop the war, Yes we can, SDS is back again” were raised, and “What do we want? Revolution! When do we want it? Now!” and “Power to the working class! Kick the bosses in the ass!”

Youth are clearly ready to fight back against this bloody, unjust war.

Also in Cleveland, in a dramatic display of grief and anger, on March 25 antiwar activists marked the occasion of the 4,000th death among U.S. troops. Hundreds spread out across the mile-long Superior-Detroit bridge that spans the Cuyahoga River and connects the city’s east and west sides. Stretched across both sides of the bridge was a s

tring of 4,000 paper sheets, each with the name and age of one of the dead and each representing 250 Iraqis killed by the genocidal war. Demonstrators also held up 4,000 holiday lights and chanted “Hey hey ho ho this rotten war has got to go.” The memorial was sponsored by the Northeast Ohio Antiwar Coalition and Peace Action.

In New York, FIST youth held a picket March 19 before the new BankAmerica building near Bryant Park with the signs, “End the occupation, stop foreclosures” before joining a candle light vigil protest by organized by Nodutol in the Korea Town Plaza.

Los Angeles
Los Angeles
WW photo: J. La Riva

Anti-war protesters numbering around 500 marched through an oppressed community in central San Diego. Speakers at the rally demanded that the billions being spent on war be used instead to address human needs like health care, housing and the education budget crisis currently deepening in California. The International Action Center banner carried in the protest read, “End Colonial Occupation From Iraq to Palestine and Everywhere!”

Los Angeles
Los Angeles
WW photo: Bob McCubbin

The Michigan Emergency Committee Against War and Injustice sponsored a demonstration in downtown Detroit, demanding troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, money for cities not for war, stop the war on Palestine, end the siege of Gaza, and U.S. hands off Iran. MECAWI anti-war organizers were joined by Palestinian and Arab activists, Green Party members, youth from Lansing fighting foreclosures and evictions, members of the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights, students from Detroit’s Cass Tech High School and others. Demonstrations also took place in Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids, Mich.

In Europe, protestors marched in Glasgow, London, Stockholm, Oslo and many other cities. In Canada, where the parliament extended that country’s military commitment to the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan, demonstrators took to the streets in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.

Cheryl LaBash, Dianne Mathiowetz, Alan Pollock, Gloria Rubac, Caleb Maupin, Martha Grevatt and Gloria Verdieu contributed to this report.

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