Stop the war and fight racism here at home, was the theme of the demonstration of 2,500, organized by the Troops Out Now Coalition. Banners and placards supported legalization for immigrants, more funding for schools and healthcare, and rebuilding New Orleans, among other issues.
Larry Holmes, one of the rally chairs, said the antiwar movement must reach out to our troops. He introduced retired army colonel Ann Wright, and Adam Kokesh of the Iraq Veterans Against the War. Wright participated in U.S. military operations in Grenada and Somalia.
The war in Iraq is bad policy, said Kokesh, a former Marine sergeant. Its bad for national security, bad for fighting terrorism, and bad for the image of our nation.
Kokeshs and Wrights remarks reflected the tactical differences between many liberals and the Bush administration over how best to defend U.S. national interests.
Some placards at the march called for dropping charges against the Jena Six, who are Black high school students facing potentially long prison terms after challenging racist practices at their school in Louisiana (see story on front page).
We had 10 buses go to the rally in Jena, Elizabeth Barger, a farmer from Summertown, Tennessee, said proudly. Barger, who is white, said, I knew what the Jena thing was about as soon as I heard it. It smells of the past.
I came because its important to show were against this war, said Khalia Kwali, who was marching with the District Council 37 union contingent from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
Members of the American-Iranian Friendship Committee marched behind a banner that read End the war on Iran! Lift the sanctions!
The Young Socialists and Socialist Workers Party contingent held signs demanding immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, Afghanistan, and anywhere else they are stationed.
The protest was preceded by a week-long Peoples Encampment of 200 in front of the Capitol.
Elsewhere, about 500 people marched and rallied in Los Angeles. Among those marching were three striking workers from Prudential Laundry in Vista, California, who are fighting to win union recognition. A rally in Syracuse, New York, drew 1,000.
The antiwar coalition United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) has called regional protests in 11 cities on October 27, including New York, Boston, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. For more information contact UFPJ at (212) 868-5545 or www.unitedforpeace.org.
Osborne Hart and Emily Paul contributed to this article. Naomi Craine contributed from Los Angeles.
Washington debates Iraq partition
Bring the troops home! demand Young Socialists at marches, campus event
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