Tens of thousands marched in the streets in the City by the Bay and an estimated 100,000 rallied in the nation’s capital Saturday, in a loud and often outraged protest against a possible war with Iraq.
“(I’m here today) to show my support for everyone else that’s doing something and to show the people that are on the fence that they can do something, that (peace) is worth fighting for,” said Julia Wallace, a fourth-year UCLA history student, who made the trip to the Bay Area for the march.
Wallace was just one of thousands from all over the West Coast to pour into San Francisco in protest.
Students from UCLA, UC San Diego, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz, the UC Hastings School of Law, USC, CalTech, Stanford, the University of Oregon and other universities joined elderly people in wheel chairs, mohawked anarchists, high schoolers, aging hippies, babies in strollers and middle-aged suburbanites in opposition of a strike against Iraq.
The demonstrations were part of an international campaign of anti-war actions held in London, Berlin, Mexico City and Rome.
In San Francisco, as the crowd of over 40,000 marched a mile-long walk from the city’s financial district to City Hall, people held signs reading “Drop Bush not bombs,” “No blood for oil” and “Bombing for peace is like (having sex) for virginity.”
One demonstrator passed out bumper stickers reading “Iraq is Arabic for Vietnam.”
Words like “tyrant,” “terrorist” and “murderer”-often saved for the likes of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden -were used to describe president Bush.
After gathering in a park near City Hall, the crowd heard from numerous speakers, including Peter Camejo, Green party gubernatorial candidate John Burton, the president of the California state Senate Dolores Huerta, the co-founder of the United Farm Workers Association, and Congresswoman Barbara Lee, D-Berkeley, a hero to many peace activists who last year was the lone member of Congress to vote against U.S. military action in Afghanistan.
“You are the true American patriots,” Lee said to a cheering crowd. “You are the people preserving our democracy … keep the heat on, my brothers and sisters!”
A recent Gallop poll showed that support for war is not waning, even as the anti-war movement picks up.
Fifty-six percent of Americans favor invading Iraq in an attempt to remove Hussein from power, while 37 percent oppose such a plan, the poll said.
The percentage of Americans who support war was up 3 percent compared to a Gallup poll taken at the beginning of the month.
So far, however, “the heat” seems to have had little affect on Bush and not much more on the rest of the country. Bush was away from Washington over the weekend, attending an Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Bush – having already won congressional support – was reportedly lobbying world leaders there to support U.S. plans for a preemptive strike in Iraq.
As far as the American public goes, a recent Gallop poll showed that support for war is not waning, even as the anti-war movement picks up. Fifty-six percent of Americans favor invading Iraq in an attempt to remove Hussein from power, while 37 percent oppose such a plan, the poll said. The percentage of Americans who support war was up 3 percent compared to a Gallup poll taken at the beginning of the month.