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News :: Globalization : Organizing : Politics
Anti-War Protests in Boston and DC: 9/24 Remembered
27 Sep 2005
On Saturday, September 24th, 2005, dozens of local activists gathered at the Park Street corner of Boston Common to show their solidarity with protesters in Washington, DC. Meanwhile in DC, September 24-26 was filled with scheduled actions and events on national resistance against the war in Iraq and other issues related to US foreign policy.

Sponsored by The Committee for Peace and Human Rights, a local group affiliated with United for Justice and Peace that has been hosting Saturday Vigils for the Iraqi People for 6 years, the event in Boston featured guest speakers on a variety of topics including: the Iraq War & Occupation, Women's Rights, BU’s proposed Bio-terror lab, Venezuela, SHARC, and Voting and Elections, among others. Several individuals and organizations collected signatures on petitions about local issues, including Affordable Health Care in the State of Massachusetts, and many people sported buttons, badges and signs showing their dissatisfaction with the Iraqi War and the current warmongering Bush administration.
Anti-War Protests in Boston and DC
The crowd was mixed, with folks of every race, shape, age and ethnicity. One young couple whom I spoke with, citizens of Russia who have lived in the states for several years, expressed surprise at stumbling across the protest while in town but shared their satisfaction that many Americans in Boston and across the Nation are fighting against the war. Another young African American named Stephen, a Gulf War veteran, declined to be interviewed on camera but expressed the opinion that he feels that the anti-war movement is not doing enough to stop the policies of our current Government. He also described his feelings about the recent hurricanes, specifically Hurricane Katrina, as proof that the actions of our government and citizens are not doing good work at home or abroad. Several people expressed their desire to attend the protests in DC, but cited different reasons for staying to protest in Boston, including time, monetary restraints, and wanting to support local anti-war efforts.

A representative from the Boston Global Action Network called for people to address the reasons for the war. “When you talk about the war, don’t just talk about the violence,” he said, “Talk about who is profiting from this war!” Another speaker, Boston City Councilman Felix Arroyo, spoke at length about democracy in the United States. “America has not lost its Democracy,” Arroyo said, “We still don’t know it! How can we dare to say that we are invading other countries to impose Democratic values on then, when we don’t have true democracy at home?” Arroyo’s closing words, “You cannot be silent! You cannot be silent! Peace now!” sparked a chant throughout the crowd of “Peace Now! Peace Now!” that rang out for several rounds until the next speaker stepped up to the microphone.

In DC, an estimated 300,000 protesters marched the streets of the nation’s capital to voice their resentment towards the Bush administration. The initial speeches were powerful but were delayed for more than an hour, and after three hours of standing at the Ellipse, many decided to begin walking without the march leaders. Their goal was to reach the White House to vent their frustrations behind three rows of metal barriers, a line of police personnel, and the White House's fence protected by snipers.

“Just look at the group of people that have come together. There are mothers who have lost their sons and daughters to war, families are here, people who are talking about what happened in the aftermath of Katrina,” said Victoria Cunningham, “I think that this is a manifestation of people coming together with different ideas of social justice.”

“This war is immoral, but you know what? It’s going to end because all these people here represent the light. And darkness could never overcome the light, even if it’s just one spark,” said Cindy Sheehan addressing reporters in front of the White House, arm-in-arm with Jessie Jackson, "We will prevail, I know we will." The crowd echoed Cindy's sentiment by shouting back, "One person can make a difference!" and "Thank you, Cindy!"

Among groups present, one could find Military Families Speak Out, Gold Star Families, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Veterans for Peace, the Palestinian, Haitian, and Venezuelan contingents, Bread & Puppet, Code Pink, Billionaires for Bush, Katrina survivors, and many others. Much like Boston, the crowd was diverse in age and gender, although the absence of members from the African American community demonstrated a sore disconnect between the rally organizers and that section of the population.

The march ended on the grounds of the Washington Monument for the Operation Ceasefire concert which went on until late hours of the night. The Coup had people dancing and singing to songs such as, “You got to get up right now/Turn the system upside down/Your 'sposed to be fed up right now/Turn the system upside down/Get up!” Many took advantage to take a nap on the Monument’s lawn, discuss politics, or browse literature at the Peace and Justice Festival tables.

Sunday was filled with UJP panels and civil disobedience trainings, as well as other events, including a Mock Trial of Mr. Rumsfeld, Mr. Tenet and Mr. Gonzales for condoning and paving theway to the use torture as a tactic in their war against terror. Organized by the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, Amnesty International, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and Physicians for Human Rights; the trial lasted a total of five hours with actors portraying the three accused officials, activists portraying the voices of Iraqi and Afghan prisoners, and actual torture survivors from Latin America who gave agonizing testimony of their experiences. Jennifer Hardbury, author of "Truth, Torture, and the American Way," spoke of her husband disappeared in Guatemala in 1992, and long-term U.S. involvement in torture tactics around the world.

Finally, Monday the war resisters gathered for an all-day civil disobedience action in front of the White House with heavy police presence. About ten policemen on horses were used to intimidate the crowd.

The unfolding of events that day were long and painful, as the direct action organizers negotiated with DC police, and family members waited anxiously behind the rail that divided those risking arrest and those unable to do so. Many of the people sitting without a permit on the sidewalk were elderly and many were members of Iraq Veterans Against the War, Gold Star Families, and the Interfaith Alliance. Cindy Sheehan and Professor Cornell West were among those arrested.

Also in the crowd were activists dressed in Guantanamo’s orange jump suits, and people trying to find solace in chanting their frustration at the empty Presidential palace. As a black-hooded man stood with his arms outstretched on a small stool, imitating the well-known images of the prisoner tortured at Abu Ghraib, two Code Pink members took turns to demand fair treatment of the peace protests from the media.

“I saw Terry Schiavo coverage, the same media coverage 78 times in twelve hours while the military families in Ashville, North Carolina, had zip coverage. Zip!” shouted one of the women as video and camera field reporters took pictures of the scene, “That’s a slap in the face of the military families and the media needs to start telling the truth!”

However, those pictures ended up in someone's desk drawer. Media coverage of Monday’s events was minimal, left mostly to news wires, buried under other national news headlines and the ongoing coverage of the cover-up of Katrina’s response failures. A media-watch organization, FAIR, reported today that if you relied on television for your news, you'd hardly know the weekend protests happened at all.

Compared to the anti-war protests of the 1960s, 9/24 and protests that took place world-wide before the invasion of Iraq was made official, dwarf the peace movement of past generations. Protests during the Democratic National Convention of 1968, in Chicago, received the most media coverage with an estimated 10,000 protesters. This was the same year that Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated. It was the same year of the Tet Offensive and the My Lai massacre and with as many as 30,000 Americans dead (an average of 1,000 per month that year), the Vietnam War had dragged on for too long for Americans to stay quiet.

This year 9/24 will be remembered even if mainstream media does not merit it.

As frustrations rose and protesters waited for the individual arrests outside the White House to continue, one young man finally decided to leap over the fence of the White House, knapsack and all, only to be jumped in a matter of seconds by five policemen who proceeded to punch, bind, and arrest him. In all, at least 370 antiwar demonstrators were arrested throughout the weekend, including 40 activists who participated on the “Adopt an Intersection” mobilization against the IMF/World Bank meetings that same weekend.

The chants of those present, silent to the general public, will echo in our memories.

[More pics soon to come! In all the BIMC Video Group gathered 9 hours of footage from these events. Soon to come on your local community TV station. Don't turn that dial, kids!]

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Re: Anti-War Protests in Boston and DC: 9/24 Remembered
27 Sep 2005
good article. it should definitely be noted though, that about 20 youth left the main rally at the Boston Common and went to the recruitment center. there they protested, passed out hundreds of counter recruitment flyers, and more.
Re: Anti-War Protests in Boston and DC: 9/24 Remembered
27 Sep 2005
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Pictures from Boston Common rally...
Re: Anti-War Protests in Boston and DC: 9/24 Remembered
27 Sep 2005
Click on image for a larger version

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Pictures from the Boston Common rally...
Re: Anti-War Protests in Boston and DC: 9/24 Remembered
27 Sep 2005
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even more pics from the Boston Common rally...
Re: Anti-War Protests in Boston and DC: 9/24 Remembered
30 Sep 2005
I'm the person referred to from the Boston Global Action Network. One quick clarification--there isn't a Boston Global Action Network any more. I was representing Bankbusters, one of the groups which grew out of BGAN. We focus particularly on raising awareness fo and challenging the policies of the IMF and World Bank. IN addition to mobilizaing for protests in DC and hosting educational events in Boston, we won a campaign for Cambridge to boycott World Bank Bonds and have been working on a similar campaign in Somerville.

Anyway, just a clarification turned shameless plug.
Matt the Joiner
30 Sep 2005
Make up your mind matt. What are your this week? Are you a communist, Marksist, republican, democrat (remember you were both of those?) or are you just a joiner? I think you're a joiner.
A high school "friend"
Re: Anti-War Protests in Boston and DC: 9/24 Remembered
01 Oct 2005
Yeah, my favorite was when I was a Marksist. The teachings of Marks are almost as cool as the teachings or Matthew, Lukes, and Johns. And Ruperts.

Congrats, "nunzio," you get the Weirdest Troll of the Month award!
Re: Anti-War Protests in Boston and DC: 9/24 Remembered
04 Oct 2005
"Yeah, my favorite was when I was a Marksist."

I like Groucho but Harpo was pretty cool too. ;)
Re: Anti-War Protests in Boston and DC: 9/24 Remembered
12 Oct 2005
we were there -
memories: I loved the Inter-Faith Gathering on Sunday night to strengthen the resolve of protesters who signed up for and were educated as to proceedures and peaceful non-violence for the Monday am arrests at the Whitehouse gates.

Togetherness and Support: Prests, an Imam,Two Rabbies, many sorts of Christians, the Irish Catholic sistah who won the Nobel Prize way back in the day, an elder brother from New Orliens, a representitive of the HipHop Contingent gave an elegant prayer, the founder of TIKKUN Magazine spoke on economic warfare and the need for a spiritual left responce to the pain and spiritual hole in Americans living in the capital value system... it was so specail, then up stand our elegant Buddist brothers (one of whom was born on the death-day of Harriet Tubman) and oneJapanise Buddist Monk proceeded to knock Cornell West and all of us off our chairs with his spirit-channelled deep voiced and loudly sung
"Go Down Moses" - you had to be there! that was incredable!
drumming and chanting with israliand arab brothers and sisters we slept over their place singing late into the night Shalom Salaaam Shalom Salaam... much beatboxing and freestyling too...

Marching the next am we arrived from our DC Transit station just in time to join the front of the right hand flank of the marchers (Who parted in the center to surround the WhiteHouse with our march and chants) then re-joined at the front, we marched to the Pharoh's gates (thinking of Go Down Moses...Let My People Go! Troops Home Now)

We were met at the White House by all manner of performance artists, flower-carrying tall young men, anarchist youth, teenagers looking for the party, babys and mothers, Breasts For Peace, priests and clergy of every sort of denomination and affiliation, old Vietnam Vets who broke down and shouted out their stories of rehab and madness and post-traumatic stress (not shown on the TV news)

The brave mobilized once more with prayer and the Imam chanted and the Rabbis sent forth witrh blessing and the Christians called upon Christ for help, and they went to the guardhouse led by Cindy Sheehan.
They were of courese tuned away, a giant CodePink contingent ran up and delivered a giant stack of "Reasons to Get Out of Iraq" and folk turned left to the front of the gate before the whitehouse facade.
They began hanging the nameplates from around their necks upon the gate - soon the whitehouse black iron picket fence was full of names of Iraqi and US dead, allong with banners, and people clinging to the iron bars, people sitting down in front of the gate and the horses of the mounted police snorted and stood in line. (They seemed ready to charge at one point but turned back after much vigorious chanting of "Get those Animals Off those Horses!" tactical change with the Press right there to witness things - much chanting of "The Whole World Is Watching" )

Prayer broke out with Cornell West and the Rabbis kneeling together. 3 Iraq Vets Against The War stood in a handsome tableu in front of the gates and behind Cindy Sheehan.
I joined a Black clergyman standing behind the Press corp in singing with much feeling "Oh Freedom" and "We Shall Overcome" w many many joining us on "we shall Live in Peace/This Day..."

Then the anarchist youth activists jumping around in a happy circle singing "Arrest Bush! Arrest Bush!" noticed the snipers on the roof behind us to our right (we had alll already seen the snipers and secret service on the white house roof & walking near us in their "I'm just a Tourist" dark sunglasses shorts , radios cellphones earpieces & fat bellys)


We were a bunch of kids, grandmothers & grandfathers, cindy sheehan, some chicks in pink and a whole bunch of reverends and other holy people : you sure need to point so many guns at THOSE people, dontcha. "what is this, today is Kent State day?", I thought

But thankfully, it was not.
These people "in power" are seriously crazy.

Peace & Keep On
Re: Anti-War Protests in Boston and DC: 9/24 Remembered
06 Nov 2005
The Iraqi people want Saddam Hussein back. He should be allowed to return to power. Any Iraqi government that does not include Saddam as president is not a legitimate government. Let's not forget that in the last Iraqi election, a full 99% of the people voted and Saddam received 98% of the vote. Clearly, the people support Saddam. Contrast this to the previous four elections in the US where approximately 35% of the American people voted. The people of Iraq spoke clearly when they voted OVERWHELMINGLY for Saddam. Let's allow the voice of the people to rule.