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Thousands Take to the Streets in San Francisco and Washington, D.C. to Call for Peace And Justice

StoryOctober 01, 2001
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More than 20,000 anti-war demonstrators, including many anti-globalization activists, took to the streets of Washington DC and San Francisco to protest possible US military action in response to the attacks on US targets earlier this month. In San Francisco, almost 10,000 people converged on a park in San Francisco’s predominately Latino Mission District to denounce the Bush administration’s plans for military intervention in Afghanistan. Nearly as many came to a series of demonstrations and teach-ins in Washington this weekend, saying that Bush does not have the full support of the American people for a war against terrorism. Many demonstrators connected the attacks to the questions of global trade that have drawn large protests in recent years, and said the fight against war is closely linked to the fight against corporate globalization.

On Saturday morning, the Anti-Capitalist Convergence led a march in a park outside Washington’s Union Station, nearthe US Capitol building, behind a 16-foot-long banner reading: "Anticapitalists against war, racism, terrorism,property." Police officers on motorcycles swarmed around protesters as they gathered a few blocks from the WhiteHouse, and a helicopter circled overhead. They carried flags that read "Destroy imperialism, not Afghanistan," and"Food and medicine to the people of Afghanistan and Iraq" and "We do not support your war." The march was penned inon both sides by hundreds of police in riot gear, who blocked demonstrators from veering outside of the parade route.Several times during the demonstration there were altercations between police and demonstrators, once when severaldemonstrators sat down in front of police vehicles. The air was filled with the acrid smell of pepper spray. In factit was so prevalent that volunteer medics treated hundreds of protesters who were sprayed, and the assistant DCpolice chief had to be taken briefly to a hospital to have his eyes rinsed after being affected by the pepper spray.Twelve demonstrators were arrested during the morning.

When the demonstrators reached the end of the parade route at the World Bank and IMF buildings, they were penned into a space of several blocks by police and prevented from leaving for over an hour. The several hundred protestersleft at the end of the march chanted to be allowed to leave, but after a while they turned the space into a streetfair of sorts, chalking the ground, dancing to drums and even playing frisbee.

Some activists suggested that the police were preventing them from leaving so that they wouldn’t join the other,larger rally that had begun several blocks away. Eventually the National Lawyers Guild negotiated an emergencyinjunction to have the protesters released and police escorted the group down to the International Action Centerrally. Today we will bring you the sound and sights of the streets of Washington DC this weekend. First to the AntiCapitalist Convergence with Democracy Now! in Exile producer Miranda Kennedy.

Tape:

  • Sounds of the Streets in Washington, D.C., September 29, 2001, including Gail Walker, Pastors for Peace, BillBlum, author of ??Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower, Rev. Lucius Walker, Pastors for Peace,and Stan Goff, author of ??Hideous Dream: A Soldier’s Memoir of the US Invasion of Haiti.

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