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News ::
15 Sep 2003

By John Catalinotto
Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the Sept. 18, 2003
issue of Workers World newspaper


By John Catalinotto

Organizers of Sept. 28 demonstrations to demand an end to the
occupations of Iraq and all of Palestine say the mood is beginning to
feel like "last year's October to March anti-war protests."

Last spring, many of the groups worldwide that had demonstrated to try
to stop the war on Iraq called for an international day of action for
Sept. 27 or 28, which is the third anniversary of the Al-Aqsa Intifada. The focus was to be on Palestine solidarity, and also on ending the occupation of Iraq.

At the time it was hard to predict whether these would be limited to
symbolic solidarity actions, or begin to reignite the world movement
that had grown to over 10 million people last February. The answer
depends on political developments, as various organizers have reported.

In Turkey, where a national demonstration is planned for Ankara on Sept. 27, the question of whether Turkish troops will be sent to Iraq has sharpened the struggle. The same is true for a newer movement in Poland, which will gather in Warsaw to demand the Polish troops occupying southern Iraq near Babylon be brought home.

In the Middle East and North Africa, anti-U.S. demonstrations are often threatened by the local ruling groups. The ongoing violent occupations in Palestine and Iraq can stir such strong mass response that it leads to clashes with the repressive state. Reports from Middle Eastern organizers of Against U.S. and Israeli Globalization and Hegemony say demonstrations are planned in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Iraq, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Sudan, Morocco, Algeria, Iran and Pakistan.

In Britain, the Stop the War Coalition expects its Sept. 27 action to be massive. The protest comes as the Tony Blair administration has been put on the defensive about the lies it told to justify invading Iraq.

At least 39 countries are planning solidarity events. These include
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France,
Germany, Greece, India, Ireland, Japan, Macedonia, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, South Korea, Spain and Thailand.


In the United States the organizing is hitting its stride just as the
Bush administration has had to admit that the plan to control Iraq is in a crisis. President George W. Bush now wants $87 billion to try to bring Iraq to heel, plus the support of the United Nations he scorned getting into the war. And the Pentagon has had to announce extended duty for already war-weary reservists and National Guard GIs.

Meanwhile the economic news at home is going from bad to worse, with 2
million jobs lost in the past two years. Bush's ratings in the polls are the lowest they've been since he was able to use the Sept. 11, 2001, attack to whip up patriotism and support for the administration and its war. This slippage has encouraged anti-war activists to step up their work.

In Los Angeles, where a protest at a Bush fundraiser brought out
thousands of people earlier this summer, organizers from the ANSWER
coalition are hopeful about the Sept. 28 turnout. "It was quiet a few
weeks ago," said Los Angeles ANSWER organizer John Beacham, "but now
there is a strong core of volunteers getting out leaflets and pasting up posters all over the county."

In Los Angeles, the emphasis is about equally on Palestine and Iraq. The top of the leaflet reads, "On the anniversary of the Palestinian
Intifada," and in big type, "End Occupation in Iraq, Palestine and
Everywhere. No to Empire, no to Colonialism. Bring the Troops Home Now." The text of the leaflet demands no intervention in Afghanistan, Korea, the Philippines, Africa and Latin America.

ANSWER is organizing the demonstration along with groups representing
the Arab community, South Asians, Koreans and Filipinos, as well as more traditional peace groups.

Fernando Suarez, a Mexican-American who is the father of a GI killed in Iraq and who is strongly anti-war, will be speaking at a news conference and at the rally Sept. 28.

In New York on Sept. 8 an equally diverse group of 30 organizers from
about a dozen organizations met at the International Action Center
office to plan that city's Sept. 28 action. Groups attending included
three from the Arab and Arab-American community, and also
representatives from the gay community, Koreans, Philippines support
groups, and the IAC and ANSWER.

The activists were determined to find ways to use banners and flags to
show both solidarity with the embattled Palestinians and enthusiasm for going on the offensive against Bush and Co. over Iraq. A working meeting then followed to lay the structure for what promises to be a strong demonstration from the Columbus Circle area through midtown Manhattan.

San Francisco organizers expect a mass demontration there on Sept. 28.
They report that similar coalition meetings have taken place, and are
optimistic that people will come from all over central and northern

Other meetings and marches taking place include: Sept. 25 in Alexandria, Va., and Rutland, Vt.; Sept. 26 in Patterson, N.J., and Chicago; Sept. 27 in San Diego, Saint Louis, Kansas City, Mo., Santa Barbara, Calif., and Detroit; and on Sept. 28 in Seattle and Boston. Details on these and some international events are listed on the ANSWER website at s28/sep25_28events.html.

- END -

(Copyright Workers World Service: Everyone is permitted to copy and
distribute verbatim copies of this document, but changing it is not
allowed. For more information contact Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY,
NY 10011; via e-mail: ww (at) Subscribe wwnews-
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