On Saturday, major protests were held around the country and the world to mark the second anniversary of the invasion in Iraq. From New York to Fayetteville, London to Rome, people took to the streets to demonstrate against the war. We bring you the words of some of the people who took to the streets. [includes rush transcript]
On Saturday, major protests were held around the country and the world to mark the second anniversary of the invasion in Iraq.
Anti-war protests were held in over 800 cities and towns across the US–including rallies, marches, civil disobedience actions and silent vigils.
In Fayetteville, North Carolina as many as 4,800 gathered outside the military base Fort Bragg. It was the largest protest at the base since the Vietnam War.
In New York, hundreds of protesters gathered outside the United Nations and marched to Times Square carrying hundreds of flag-draped coffins. Thousands marched through Harlem to Central Park. Members of the War Resisters League staged acts of civil disobedience outside military recruiting stations throughout the city. 36 people were arrested.
In San Francisco, several thousand protesters marched from Dolores Park to Civic Center Plaza with the crowd stretching for about 15 blocks.
In Los Angeles, thousands marched through Hollywood, and in Chicago hundreds of police escorted a thousand protesters as they marched to an afternoon rally at the Federal Plaza.
In Albuquerque, some 300 demonstrators gathered in front of the New Mexico National Guard Armory and glued pieces of paper featuring the names and faces of dead American soldiers to the sidewalk.
Protests continued yesterday in Boston thousands of antiwar protesters converged on Boston Common in a peaceful demonstration that ended with four arrests.
Overseas the largest protest came in London where between 45,000 and 100,000 people marched through the city. Thousands of people also took to the streets in Madrid, Barcelona, Istanbul, Athens, Oslo, Japan and Australia.
Meanwhile, President Bush made an uncompromising defense of the invasion in his weekly radio address saying, “On this day two years ago, we launched Operation Iraqi Freedom to disarm a brutal regime, free its people, and defend the world from a grave danger.”
Today we spend the rest of the hour going around the country to bring you the protesters in their own words. We begin here in New York where about 20 people staged civil disobedience at the military recruiting center in Times Square. The recruiting center decided to close that day in anticipation of protests.
- Carmen Trotta, of the Catholic Worker speaking at a protest in Times Square, New York City.
Some of the protesters speaking in New York on Saturday. Afterwards, they laid down on Broadway and were arrested. 36 people were arrested in total. A mother of a soldier deployed in Iraq witnessed the civil disobedience in times square from the sidewalk. This is her reaction.
- Mother of Soldier deployed in Iraq, speaking at a protest in Times Square, New York City.
AMY GOODMAN: This is Carmen Trotta of the Catholic Worker.
CARMEN TROTTA: At this point over 1500 young Americans have not returned from Iraq. Tens of thousands of others have returned maimed in body and spirit. We remember those dead Americans and we remember the more than 100,000 Iraqis killed in a criminal slaughter by this nation in this war. We call for the immediate, unilateral withdrawal of U.S. forces in the interest of supporting the troops and bringing them home. At this point we have written, we have marched, we have spoken out, there is no more room for talking. We come here today to put our bodies in front of the recruiting center to prevent people from being recruited into a war to kill and be killed. This day The New York Times in its op-ed pages maintains the line that we either went to Iraq because of weapons of mass destruction or to overthrow a dictator. In the op-ed section, no one seems to be of the opinion that we went to Iraq because Iraq rests upon the second largest oil reserves in the world. Clearly the war is a criminal and colonial venture. The media had better start reporting it as such, instead of reporting the lies that you could see in Technicolor here any day at Times Square at the recruiting station, in fact the most trafficked recruiting station in the country. Again, I beg you to remember the 100,000 dead due to the “Shock and Awe” campaign, the ongoing criminal and colonial occupation of Iraq. When will the American people seize upon their own liberties and begin to demand some protection for their children being sent often times unwillingly to a theater of war in Iraq?
AMY GOODMAN: Carmen Trotta of the Catholic Worker. Some of the protesters speaking in New York on Saturday. Afterwards, they laid down on Broadway and were arrested. 36 people were arrested in total. A mother of a soldier deployed in Iraq witnessed the civil disobedience in Times Square from the sidewalk. This was her reaction.
MOTHER OF A SOLDIER WHO WAS DEPLOYED IN IRAQ: This is a very unusual kind of protest. People that come here know that if they protest to the fullest that they will be arrested. They carry coffins. They dress as the dead soldiers, and some of them have pictures of actual dead soldiers. My own son was in Iraq from beginning to end during an 11-month period. He came back alive. I’ve never been more frightened and horrified in my life. Every day, each day I heard a soldier died, not knowing whether it was my own son. So, what these people do for me is so important, and I support them wholly and fully. They’re laying down their lives willing to get arrested to say, no, not in my name.
AMY GOODMAN: The mother of a soldier deployed in Iraq.