Thousands of people marched across New York on Friday night to call for peace and demand an end to attacks on Muslimand Arab communities.
Chanting “War is not the answer” and “Islam is not the enemy,” the marchers worked their way uptown from UnionSquare, where mourners have been holding nightly vigils for the missing and the dead since the twin towers fell onSeptember 11th.
The march was called on short notice, and attracted a far higher turnout than expected. As the numbers swelled,hecklers called out to them in midtown’s busy streets and many bystanders cheered the marchers or even joined them.As the march approached Times Square, police sectioned off groups of demonstrators from each other, and letdemonstrators out of barricaded areas only three or four at a time.
Four marchers were arrested-three charged with disorderly conduct and one with “criminal impersonation.”
Before the march began, activists from the religious, Arab and South Asian communities held a Muslim peace rally in anearby park. Because police had revoked their rally permit, and the organizers did not feel safe without policeprotection, speakers addressed a small audience.
Among them were Karen Robinson of the Human Rights education project at Amnesty International, and New York Citycouncilwoman Christine Quinn.
- Sounds Of Protest In New York
In Denver, Colorado on Saturday five activists unfurled a banner that read “Wage Peace Now” from a crane under imagesof Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., The Dalai Lama and Jesus Christ yesterday. The activists were arrested and chargedwith a class three felony (criminal mischief). In what they are calling the first high-profile direct action of thebudding pro-peace movement in the United States and against budding military activity in Afghanistan. The banner dropwas organized by the members of an activist collective calling itself La Mitzvah. La Mitzvah, which is Spanish andHebrew for “The Good Deed”, is dedicated to confronting social, environmental and economic injustice with non-violentdirect action, art, and humor.
- Amy Johnson, one of the activists involved in the protest. She also works at Pacifica Affiliate KGNU inBoulder