[R-G] Pravada's blow-by-blow account of DC demo
bstoller at utopia2000.org
Mon Oct 1 19:03:05 MDT 2001
Pravda. 1 October 2001. 5000 demonstrate against war in Washington.
Between five and six thousand demonstrators joined a Communist-led
anti-war march in Washington, on September 29, scuffling with police and
war solidarity demonstrators, and denouncing racism, Israel and
imperialism as the root causes of the events that led to the September
11th bombing of the Pentagon and the World Trade Center.
The rallies began in three locations, each organized by different
groups. In addition to the main rally, organized by the International
Action Center, a front for the communist Worker's World Party, which was
formed, ironically enough, to defend the Soviet imperialist invasion of
Hungary in 1956, two smaller rallies, each organized by competing groups
of anarchist anti-capitalist demonstrators, gathered in the morning.
Washington police concentrated their efforts on the two anarchist
Around 10:15 AM, several anarchists who had gathered around 8th street
in Chinatown provoked a confrontation with police by laying down in
front of the police cars that were escorting them, blocking the car's
When one of the cars they were blocking accidentally hit them, and the
police driver stepped out to see if the anarchist was all right, the
crowd swarmed on the driver, striking him and his car repeatedly. Police
used pepper-spray to disperse the crowd, and made several arrests.
Approximately half an hour later, as a second group of approximately 400
anarchists gathered outside the World Bank building outside 18th Street
and Pennsylvania Avenue, police deployed approximately 500 officers in
padded body armor and helmets, wielding pepper guns, gas guns and
batons, to surround and contain the crowd, including at least a hundred
additional passerbys who had merely been walking through the area when
police cordoned it off.
As individuals tried to leave the area, police would push and shove them
back in, andd state that all 400 people had been temporarily detained.
The main rally, of approximately 4000 additional individuals, was
conducted with less than 15 police officer escorts in Washington's
Freedom Plaza, at 14th and Pennsylvania. Because of Washington's traffic
pattern, most individuals there remained ignorant of their comrade's
plight four blocks away.
Eventually, the police relaxed their cordon on the militant anarchist
anti-capitalist group, and allowed them to march towards the main rally.
While marching near 15th and H Streets, several anarchist demonstrators,
some themselves wearing body armor and wielding makeshift shields
fashioned from trash can lids and sheet metal, formed into a wedge
formation and charged the police line, scattering officers and allowing
at least thirty individuals to escape, and one to be arrested.
Police responded by gassing a crowd of reporters and passing tourists,
causing at least two people -- a passerby and a report for the
Independent Media Center -- to receive emergency treatment from
Scuffles with the police subsided as the anarchist crowd joined the
mainstream march, but were replaced with scuffles with "war solidarity"
demonstrators and militant supporters of George W Bush organized by the
activist website FreeRepublic.com.
While the bulk of FreeRepublic.com supporters, approximately 150
individuals, including local Republican officials, who also call
themselves the "Bush thugs" after their reputation for confronting
supporters of Al Gore during the 2000 presidential election dispute,
gathered near 10th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, approximately 20 of
them attempted to "confront" what they called the "pro-terrorist" crowd.
Fighting broke out when a group of anarchist protestors [from the group
Anti-Capitalist Convergence] began to burn two Americans flags.
Four of the war-solidarity demonstrators waded into the
anarchist-communist crowd fists flying in an attempt to stop the flag
burning, and were pounced on by approximately five hundred
demonstrators, some of them waving Palestinian flags, and severely
A group of approximately forty police officers waded into the crowd with
pepper spray and batons to save the "patriots" from serious injury. Four
other "patriot" demonstrators were removed by police after isolated
scuffles broke out across Freedom Plaza.
One gentleman carrying a sign reading "Nuke them and there will be no
war" was assaulted by individuals wearing rally security guard shirts,
and escorted away by police. Three other men who began shouting
obscenities and threats at the anti-war demonstrators were also removed.
The march itself was conducted peacefully and without incident. Police
deployed three companies of officers and a mounted unit -- approximately
120 officers overall, to keep the communist and Republican demonstrators
Themes in the anti-war demonstration were consistently pacifist, with
several of the demonstrators suggesting that the US should never enter
war under any circumstances, even if the country was invaded. Popular
slogans in the anti-war demonstration included "US out of the Middle
East," "Israel Get Out Of Palestine," "bin Laden was trained by the CIA"
and "Long Live the Intifada."
One group of Palestinian-Americans carried a banner proclaiming "Global
Intifada Against Israeli Apartheid -- Stop US Aid to Israel now!"
Themes at the Patriot demonstration were more confrontational and
personal. Right-wing Republicans carried signs labeling and bullying
their opponents, declaring them to be in a "Traitors and Cowards Rally"
and stating they were "Anti-War, Anti-American and Pro-Mass Murder."
As the anti-war demonstration passed them, outnumbering the "Bush thugs"
by a ratio of about 40 to 1, the Bush supporters chanted "Hates America
-- radical left!", "Liberate the Afghan people!" and "Hey hey, ho ho,
leftist commies got to go!"
Anti-war demonstrators responded with cries of "Bush, you coward! No
killing in our name!" and "Islam is not the enemy!"
The rally ended peacefully in a park just south of the US Capitol
building. Several protestors frolicked in a public fountain while a
group calling themselves the "Rhythm-worker's Union" beat out a style of
music known as "jungle," using bongo drums and whistles.
The rally concluded with a series of speeches by Palestinian groups,
several Communist organizations, and the Green Party, as members of a
variety of Trotskyist and Maoist organization, including the
International Socialist Organization, the Revolutionary Communist Party,
the Progressive Labor Party, and at least two dozen other factions,
splinters and tendencies, distributed literature.
How much was achieved was unclear. Most US newspapers and many US
television networks de-emphasized the rally by relegating coverage of it
to their Metro sections and local television affiliates, denying the
story prominent national exposure.
Pravda reporters witnessed cameramen from several US networks staging
television shots by walking up to groups of protestors and asking them
to shout certain slogans, sing certain songs, or walk in certain
directions, so as to give the appearance of various things happening at
the rally that were not actually happening.
Several cameramen told Pravda they had been told by their media bosses
to present the rallies in a certain light, and to ignore the actual
facts of the event.
But despite the efforts of the largely Zionist American media to
de-emphasize the impact, it is clear that there is a growing body of
Americans, particularly young college students, who have rejected the
rhetoric that semi-official commentary publications and the short list
of approved American commentators on public affairs have presented.
Despite attempts to obfuscate issues and de-emphasize the role of US
Israeli policy as a factor in the targeting of the US for terrorism, it
is clear that several thousand American citizens have seen through to
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