Los Angeles anti-war protest BIG
walterlx at earthlink.net
Sat Feb 15 20:40:13 MST 2003
Today's protest was the largest I've seen in thirty-five
years of living in this city. It was built by a coalition of
the coalitions. Police estimates of 100,000 are being
given on the media here. There was simply a sea of
people in which you couldn't see from one end to the
other. Speakers were all short and well-spoken and
the mood was positive in all respects. While I didn't
see many Black folks, people of every other color
CORPORATE MEDIA COVERAGE:
TV Stars Among Antiwar Activists In L.A.
Martin Sheen Among Antiwar Protesters In Hollywood
POSTED: 12:15 p.m. PST February 15, 2003
UPDATED: 2:52 p.m. PST February 15, 2003
LOS ANGELES -- Thousands of antiwar protesters, including TV
and movie stars, staged a noisy but peaceful demonstration
Saturday on Hollywood Boulevard in the heart of the nation's
Activist actors Martin Sheen and Mike Farrell and director
Rob Reiner were among the chanting marchers who filled the
wide boulevard from curb to curb for four blocks.
Sheen, who plays the U.S. president on NBC's "The West
Wing," said the protesters were "doing the only thing we can
to face this horrific crisis -- to share our strength and
"None of us can stop this war ... there is only one guy that
can do that and he lives in the White House," Sheen said.
Asked what he would say to the people of Iraq facing a
possible attack, Sheen said, "Just hang on. You're not alone
on this. It's not over yet."
Actress Wendie Malick of NBC's "Just Shoot Me" said she was
glad to use her celebrity for a worthy cause.
"At a time like this, you're especially grateful to use your
celebrity for something of depth ... and something instead
of when my next show is going to be on television," she said
as nearby demonstrators chanted "Impeach Bush!" and "Peace
The event was monitored by about 300 police officers but no
arrests had been made through midafternoon. Authorities
estimated about 15,000 demonstrators were on hand. Protest
organizers put the number at 30,000.
The mostly young crowd included people promoting a variety
of causes linked to the peace effort. Some wore T-shirts
urging "Free Palestine!" A group of nurses waved signs
demanding "Health Care Not Warfare."
Frances Ferris, 77, held a sign saying "Wake Up, America!"
"My grandchildren are going to be paying taxes on this for a
lot of years," she said of the possible war.
Jim Lafferty, executive director of the Los Angeles chapter
of the National Lawyers Guild, said he coordinated national
antiwar protests during the Vietnam War but noted the
current efforts surpassed those demonstrations.
"This is unprecedented," he said of the current antiwar
movement. "It's sooner, it's bigger, it's more diverse, and
it's more worldwide."
Other major demonstrations were held in New York and London.
In California, other planned protests included a spiritual
gathering on the beach in Santa Monica and a rally outside a
San Diego naval station. A march was scheduled in San
Francisco on Sunday.
Former Gov. Pete Wilson, a member of the Defense Policy
Board and the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory
Board, called the demonstrations "for the most part, naive
and wishful thinking."
Wilson, who was elected governor in 1991, said in a
telephone interview that he believes war is unavoidable
because Iraq's leader has failed at "every opportunity" to
get rid of weapons of mass destruction.
There is no chance "that somehow Saddam Hussein is going to
experience some epiphany," he said.
Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved
VOICE OF AMERICA:
Americans Join Global Anti-War Protests
15 Feb 2003, 22:31 UTC
Thousands of Americans across the country have joined
millions of people around the world protesting against
preparations for a possible U.S. -led war in Iraq.
Hollywood celebrities led rallies in Los Angeles while tens
of thousands marched in freezing temperatures near United
Nations headquarters in New York, carrying banners promoting
peace and U.N. weapons inspectors' efforts to rid Iraq of
its banned weapons of mass destruction.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa told the crowd in
New York that the United States should allow the U.N.
inspectors more time to finish their search for illicit
weapons in Iraq.
Similar anti-war demonstrations were planned in more than
150 other cities across the United States on Saturday.
In London, nearly a million protesters gathered in Hyde Park
to urge President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair
to back away from any military option in Iraq. Around one
million people rallied in Rome to demand a peaceful
resolution to the dispute with Baghdad. Hundreds of
thousands marched in Paris in what organizers stressed was a
protest against policies of the Bush administration.
The largest anti-war protest in Europe was reported in
Barcelona, Spain, where city officials estimated a turn-out
of 1.3 million people. The only reports of violence came
from Athens, Greece, where police used tear gas against
Peace rallies began Saturday in New Zealand and Australia,
then spread across Asia to the Middle East, Europe and the
western hemisphere. Global organizers said they expected
about 600 rallies and marches worldwide as part of the
biggest anti-war mass movement in over 30 years.
Anti-war protesters gather by thousands across the nation
VERENA DOBNIK, Associated Press Writer
Saturday, February 15, 2003
(02-15) 18:31 PST NEW YORK (AP) --
Thousands of anti-war demonstrators packed more than 20
blocks near the United Nations headquarters Saturday, the
largest of an estimated 150 peace rallies across the nation
that filled city streets with banners, chanting and people
from all walks of life.
"Just because you have the biggest gun does not mean you
must use it," Martin Luther King III told demonstrators in
New York as he stood before an enormous banner reading: "The
World Says No To War."
Protests were held across the nation, from Maine to Hawaii,
and from Texas to Minnesota.
And around the world -- including many in the capitols of
America's traditional allies -- similar rallies drew well
over a million people in protest of possible U.S. military
action against Iraq.
"Peace! Peace! Peace!" Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South
Africa said as he walked from a church service to a meeting
with Kofi Annan at the United Nations. "Let America listen
to the rest of the world -- and the rest of the world is
saying, `Give the inspectors time."'
Organizers of the New York rally, who had hoped for 100,000
people, estimated the crowd at anywhere from 375,000 to
500,000. NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly said about 100,000
people were in the crowd, which stretched 20 blocks deep and
spanned three avenues.
Fifty arrests were made and two protesters were
hospitalized -- one with an epileptic seizure and another
who had diabetes, Kelly said. Eight officers also were
injured, including a mounted police officer who was pulled
off his horse and beaten, Kelly said.
"I think it went well. It was orderly," he said. "We
facilitated people's ability to make their opinions known."
Police in Colorado Springs, Colo., fired tear gas at
protesters, sending at least two to a hospital, and made
arrests after the demonstrators blocked a major thoroughfare
near an Air Force base.
Police spokesman Lt. Skip Arms said police fired tear gas
after the protesters failed to heed repeated warnings to
disperse. He denied press reports that officers also fired
rubber bullets at protesters, then later said a single
rubber bullet was fired at a demonstrator who picked up a
tear gas cannister and threw it back toward officers. He
said the man was then subdued by a stun gun but was not
Anti-war rallies had been planned in about 150 U.S. cities,
from Yakima, Wash., to Augusta, Maine, as well as in major
cities including Chicago, Philadelphia, Miami and Seattle.
"We need to leave Iraq alone," said Detroit rally organizer
Kris Hamel of the Michigan Emergency Committee Against the
War on Iraq.
Rallies including the one in Knoxville, Tenn., drew young
and old, in tie-dyes and dreadlocks, in collared shirts and
khaki slacks. Protester Rick Held said he was "surprised
it's not just the usual suspects" participating. "Bush must
really be screwing up to bring out the mainstream."
In Los Angeles, activist actors Martin Sheen and Mike
Farrell and director Rob Reiner were among the thousands of
chanting marchers who filled Hollywood Boulevard from curb
to curb for four blocks. Organizers estimated the crowd at
100,000; police put it at 30,000.
"None of us can stop this war ... there is only one guy that
can do that and he lives in the White House," said Sheen,
who plays a fictitious U.S. president on NBC's "The West
Thousands of protesters marching to the Liberty Bell in
Philadelphia included Quakers walking in silence, a Korean
group banging drums and students chanting peace slogans.
In Austin, Texas, thousands gathered on the lawn of the
Capitol where George W. Bush served as governor. "Here in
Texas we're saying 'no' to the boy from our hometown,"
University of Texas journalism professor Robert Jensen told
Many demonstrators braved frigid temperatures. Outside
Milwaukee City Hall, Marilyn and Jim Martell wrapped
themselves in plastic sheeting and duct tape -- items the
government has advised people to keep on hand in case of a
terrorist attack. The couple said the items offered more
protection against the cold.
At a statehouse rally in Boise, Idaho, Iraqi immigrant Azam
Houle said she fled the "suffocating police state" 27 years
ago, but that invading her homeland was not the solution.
"We seem to think we can destroy a country and then build a
democracy," she said. "Democracy at gunpoint isn't
The New York rally was opened by singer Richie Havens
performing "Freedom," just as he did 34 years earlier at the
original Woodstock Festival. Speakers included Susan
Sarandon, Harry Belafonte and Pete Seeger.
Security in New York was extraordinarily tight, with the
city on high alert for terrorist threats.
The streets around the U.N. headquarters on Manhattan's East
Side were mostly empty but for police. Demonstrators were
kept several blocks to the north because city officials
denied their permit request to march along First Avenue past
All along the area, authorities deployed a new security
"package" including sharpshooters and officers with
radiation detectors, hazardous materials decontamination
equipment, bomb-sniffing dogs and air-sampling equipment
able to detect chemical or biological weapons.
Other demonstrators, including about 1,000 in Manhattan,
supported the possibility of U.S. military action.
In Wausau, Wis., some 200 war supporters routinely
interrupted speakers with shouts of "George Bush, free Iraq"
or "U.S.A., U.S.A."
"I want him to defeat the evil in Iraq, no matter what it
takes," said Gerry Timler, 72, who carried a sign reading,
"God Bless America and President Bush."
On President Clinton Avenue in Little Rock, Ark., Vietnam
veteran Gary Gish of San Antonio yelled at about 500
"Clinton and his administration let Iraq go for eight
years," he said. "We should back our leaders."
Some of those he was criticizing were veterans themselves.
"I think he's (President Bush) rushing into this," said Don
Murphy, who served in the Army in the 1950s. "We need to
give the inspectors more time. If there's hard evidence, go
after him, but there's no real hard evidence."
©2003 Associated Press
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