[R-G] Anti-war demo in NYC
bstoller at utopia2000.org
Sun Oct 28 20:30:29 MST 2001
BBC. 28 October 2001. Mixed reaction to NYC peace march
Three weeks after the United States started to drop bombs on
Afghanistan, a wide coalition of groups marched through central New York
beating drums and shouting: "You say 'Bomb,' we say 'No.' The racist war
has got to go."
"Our grief is not a cry for war," read one banner.
On a bitterly cold October afternoon, 1,000 people espoused causes from
Palestine to the US Green Party, anarchy to Yugoslavia, black civil
rights to socialism.
There were almost as many police officers as demonstrators.
Before the march even left its Times Square rallying point, a convoy of
fire engines drove up and parked right next to the protesters, sounding
their sirens in order to drown out the anti-war speakers.
After a few tense minutes, the firefighters left, but only after using a
public address system to urge the demonstrators to go home.
Some of the marchers said that they had indeed lost friends, relatives
and colleagues at the World Trade Center.
They started with a minute's silence for those who died on 11 September
"and also for those who have died in Palestine and as a result of US
Moshe Rothenberg, a middle-aged member of a group called Jews for Racial
and Economic Justice, said that the suicide attacks were just a pretext
for the war in Afghanistan.
"We're going to war for oil. Afghanistan is a critical country right
next to Iran and Bush wants a friendly government there," he said.
"The US ignores terrorism in Africa and elsewhere. Why? Because there's
The International Action Center which helped organise the march says
that US oil companies want to build a pipeline from the oil-rich Caspian
Sea to the Indian Ocean -- through Afghanistan -- and this is why the
Bush administration is trying to topple the Taleban.
Organisers also condemned the "racist" arrest of hundreds of Muslims and
Arabs in the US and elsewhere since 11 September and voiced concern that
the Anti-Terrorism Act, made into law on Friday would be used to
intimidate government critics such as themselves.
So how should the US Government respond to the suicide attacks on New
York and Washington?
"I was hoping something would be worked out through the United Nations,
then he [President Bush] went on his little crusade," said David
Huggins, carrying a banner that said: 'To President Bush: Sir, you are
fired; You are dismissed; Your services are no longer required; Mr Bush,
you need help.'
"I'm against the US putting its nose in places where it doesn't belong,"
said spiky-haired high-school student Alex Cowan from Washington DC.
"That's what made people hate us, want to kill us in the first place."
As they marched through central New York to an anti-war "teach-in," some
shop owners locked their doors in case the protest became violent, but
it passed off without incident.
A few people even turned up to mount individual "counter-protests".
John Cutter walked up and down next to the demonstrators waving a small
"These people are fools, dreamers and anti-Americans," he said.
Desmond Antubam called the marchers "a disgrace."
"There's too much freedom here," he said.
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