March 21, 2009. Thousands of people from all over the US marched in the streets of Washington, DC to demand the end of war in all the countries that are being occupied by the US military machine today, including Iraq, Afghanistan and others including the support for the invasion of Palestine.
The day before the rally a group of Iraq veterans protested in front of the Veterans Administration building in Washington, DC:
Iraq War veterans carried out a dramatic banner drop at the headquarters of the Veterans Administration in Washington, D.C., on the 6th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.And here is a video of that peculiar protest. Notice the police that intervene are from ICE - Immigration and Custom Enforcement. Listen to the veterans speaking, they really make sense!
A U.S. Army National Guard veteran scaled the facade of the VA building and dropped a 25 foot-long, 6 foot-high banner that read "Veterans Say No to War and Occupation, March 21st - March on the Pentagon." He was handcuffed and detained.
The rally on Saturday seemed very numerous and although most media talks about "hundreds" but the organizers said there were about 1o thousand people. DC News 8 Channel reports:
Organizers from the ANSWER Coalition said more than 1,000 groups sponsored the protest to call for an end to the Iraq war. Holding signs that read "We need jobs and schools, not war" and "Stop the war!" they rallied around noon across the street from the Lincoln Memorial and by 1:30 p.m., were beginning to march across the Memorial Bridge to the Pentagon.Not much from the rally was found in The Washington Post, of course. They had three photos and a VA county's statement saying the rally only attracted 3,000 people.
Protesters demanded that President Barack Obama immediately withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq, saying thousands of Iraqis have died and thousands of American troops have been wounded or killed. Protesters lined up about 100 cardboard coffins on the ground draped with flags, including the American flag, representing countries where the U.S. has taken military action.
More on the rally:
Anti-war activists said even though former President George W. Bush is out of power, they are disappointed with what they see as stalled action from Obama. Several of them said they supported Obama during his campaign, but that his administration has let them down by not ending the war sooner.Finally the protest ended with college students chanting and dancing in the streets, hoping that their voices will be heard by the Obama administration.
"Obama seems to be led somewhat by the bureaucracies. I want him to follow up on his promise to end the war," said 66-year-old Perry Parks of Rockingham, N.C., who served in the Army for nearly 30 years, including in Vietnam. "But the longer it goes, the more it seems like he's stalling."
Obama has said he plans to withdraw roughly 100,000 troops by the summer of 2010. He promises to pull the last of the U.S. troops by the end of 2011, which is in accord with a deal Iraqis signed with Bush.
Watch a News 8 channel video here.
Will this march end the war in Iraq, Palestine or Afghanistan? I don't think so. I understand that it is important that people marched as a sign of protest, but they had put a lot of effort into a march which didn't meet any authorities, nor had any particular encounter with the people who make the foreign policy decisions - Hillary Clinton was getting ready for her trip to Mexico this week. But at least the marchers made a lot of noise as a expression that Americans haven't forgotten about the Obama's promises to end the war.