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News :: International
Boston anti-war protest condemns U.S. occupation of Iraq
24 Mar 2006
Modified: 10:42:28 AM
Uniting against poverty, racism, sexism and war and demanding that the troops be brought home now, this historic action was built, led and joined by mostly people of color, youth and women.
Click on image for a larger version

'We're not gonna' be quiet'
Boston anti-war protest condemns U.S. occupation of Iraq

By Bryan G. Pfeifer

In a decisive progressive step forward for the Boston anti-war movement over 3,000 came out March 18 for a march and rally to demand "Stop the Violence-Stop the War at Home & Abroad."

Uniting against poverty, racism, sexism and war and demanding that the troops be brought home now, this historic action was built, led and joined by mostly people of color, youth and women.

Representatives from the sponsoring organizations, the Rosa Parks Human Rights Day Committee and the Boston Troops Out Now coalition, said they considered the March 18 action a continuation of the Dec. 1 Rosa Parks Human Rights Day commemorations.

For over two hours at the beginning rally, dozens of speakers took the stage, the flatbed of a truck donated by the United Steelworkers union L. 8751, at Dudley Square on the corners of Blue Hill Avenue and Dudley Street in Roxbury, the heart of the Black community.

Participants came from throughout the Greater Boston area and from as far away as Providence where a bus and vehicle caravan transported about 100 activists and community members to the Boston protest.

Co-chairs of the opening rally were Pepe Abola of Boston Mobilization, Yvette Modestin Voices of Afro-Latin@'s , Rachael Nasca of the Women's Fightback Network and community organizer Eric Jones.

Askia Toure, an African American elder and cultural worker, invoked the presence of the ancestors in opening the rally and said, "I hope that we continue in this process of struggle, transformation and liberation. Ashe."

Other speakers represented anti-police brutality activists, cultural workers, education, housing and healthcare organizations, immigrants, labor, LGBT organizations, liberation struggles including Haiti, Palestine and the Zapatistas, unions, women's struggles, youth and veterans.

Felix Arroyo, Chuck Turner and Sam Yoon, members of Team Unity, an alliance of Boston City Councilors of color, received warm greetings and sustained applause when speaking.

A taped solidarity message from political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal was also broadcast.

Mahtowin Munro, co-leader of the United American Indians of New England, captured the spirit of the day for many.

"This fight for what we're fighting against the war, against imperialism, is a fight that we have been fighting since 1492, since Columbus first got here. It's a fight that we're going to win," said Munro.

"I'm glad that everyone is here today and I'm glad that we're marching from our community and that we're going to take our message downtown and that we're going to keep on marching and we're not gonna' be quiet and we're not gonna' stop until the war is over and this system is changed and we have what we need as human beings," concluded Munro.

After the rally participants stepped off for the march led by youth of color on two lead banners, "Rosa Parks Human Rights Day Committee: No to Poverty, Racism, Sexism & War," and "Stop the Violence, Stop the War At Home and Abroad: Bring the Troops Home Now."

Following closely ahead and behind the youth leaders were two booming sound trucks adorned with anti-war placards. Community leaders chanting and speaking from the flatbed spoke interspersed with people's music. Rosa Parks Committee co-chairs Dorotea Manuela and Tony Van Der Meer co-chaired the mobile route.

Many onlookers along the march route clapped, raised fists, chanted in solidarity or joined the march especially while marching through Roxbury on Malcolm X Blvd.

Hundreds of bi-lingual, multi-colored placards carried slogans such as "Cut the War Budget: $$$ for AID's, Healthcare, Education & Housing," "Justice & Reparations for Hurricane Katrina survivors," "Military Recruiters Out of Our Schools," "Stop Racist Attacks on the Black, Latin@, Arab & Muslim communities," "End colonial occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Haiti and Puerto Rico," and "Stop War on Iran: No Sanctions, No war."

Banners and Cuban, Rainbow, Palestinian, Puerto Rican, Venezuelan flags and others flew proudly.

A diverse array of contingents, many hoisting beautiful multi-colored banners, included LGBT ones by QueerToday and Stonewall Warriors, Somerville 5, Women's and Girls, Veterans and various anti-war and faith-based organizations.

En route participants stopped briefly at Boston police headquarters to protest police brutality; at a proposed site of a Boston University Biolab where activists say weapons of mass destruction would be developed; at Downtown Crossing, the heart of Boston's shopping district; the Federal Building where the Department of Homeland Security and other repressive state agencies are housed and ending at the Boston Common in front of the State House.

Youth and students from Boston University, Northeastern, UMass Boston and numerous other high schools, community colleges and universities participated.

Joseph Burson, an African American student leader at the Social Justice Academy, a progressive high school, came to "spread the message of love and peace and to try and end all the violence that's going on in our country. And also to send a message about how wrong our government has been treating us both with 9/11 and the problems with Hurricane Katrina and the ongoing Iraqi war."

The March 18 action was endorsed by all the major anti-war organizations in the Greater Boston area and by over 50 other progressive individuals and organizations.

In building for the demonstration, tens of thousands of leaflets and other literature was distributed for weeks at community stand-outs and progressive events throughout Boston but mostly in working class and oppressed communities.

Other M18 actions in New England took place in New Haven, Connecticut; Springfield, Massachusetts; Rutland, Vermont; Portland, Maine, Concord, New Hampshire and Providence, Rhode Island.

-- 30 --

Union labor donated
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Re: Boston anti-war protest condemns U.S. occupation of Iraq
24 Mar 2006
Dude, does that PICTURE look like it has 3000 people in it? There were like 600 people there at the most and when the Long March was almost over there were like 200 people left. Do you think you're winning any trust with people who were ACTUALLY there?
Re: Boston anti-war protest condemns U.S. occupation of Iraq
24 Mar 2006
anti war, anti racist, anti brains. What a bunch of anti bullshit.
Re: Boston anti-war protest condemns U.S. occupation of Iraq
25 Mar 2006
is there a problem with being anti-war and anti-racist?
Re: Boston anti-war protest condemns U.S. occupation of Iraq
27 Mar 2006
Nothing at all Noah, I just wish "reporters" would be truthful with the after rally reports instead of trying to spew propaganda. Truthfully, M-18 had about 1,500, maybe 2000, people. Numbers aside, it's the message that is important.