Thousands Protest Anniversary of Iraq War
March 29, 2007 3:07 AM
Roughly 3,000 protesters turned out Sunday in downtown San Francisco to march and call for the end to American occupation of Iraq in an event staged to mark the fourth anniversary of the start of America’s invasion of Iraq.
Although the protest was organized by Act Now to Stop the War and End Racism (A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition), which has an extremely large member population, SF State’s slightly smaller student organization, still made it their responsibility to participate in the march.
The student organization, Students Against War, (SAW) is a chapter of the Campus Antiwar network.
“ANSWER Coalition does the main marches,” said Michael Hoffman, 26-year-old math major at SF State, “But SAW still participates.”
Hoffman, who is one of the many officers in SAW and helps to organize protests and rallies, said several schools would be participating in the march to the Civic Center.
While the march was set to go from the Embarcadero to the Civic Center downtown, the students of SAW made sure they stayed a unit and had different meeting places, according to Hoffman.
One student, Emily Cooper, 20, was there with her mother, Jennifer Cooper.
“I’ve been through the big time protests in the 70s,” said Jennifer Cooper, who came from Redwood City to support her daughter and participate in the anti-war rally.
Jennifer Cooper noted the strong differences between today’s protests and those of the Vietnam War era.
“Back then we relied completely on word of mouth,” she said. “We had no cell phones or internet.”
Cooper noted that even with those advances, the numbers in the streets don’t seem to match up to what they were in the 70s.
“We’re not as vocal as we could be,” she said, “We need to be more vocal. We need more people power.”
The SAW students, who gathered at 10a.m. at the corner of 19th and Holloway, grew in numbers close to thirty, before hopping the M-line downtown.
The students were armed with signs that displayed messages such as, “I pledge allegiance to the earth,” “Peace in the Middle East,” and “Money for jobs and education not war or occupation.”
They then gathered on the Muni platform as it pulled in to the station and began to chant, “Four years of occupation, not one day of liberation,” and boarded the train to head downtown and join the rest of the masses marching for a united purpose of ending the War in Iraq.
Throughout the march, protesters chanted “money for jobs and education, not for war and occupation!”
Various community and ethnic organizations joined the ANSWER and SAW groups in the rally.
About 30 members from the Gabriela Network, a U.S Filipino women's solidarity organization, marched protesting against the injustice that women and children suffer in war, said Amanda Martin, media spokesperson for the Gabriela Network in SF Bay Area.
“We are here today organizing the women’s contingent for the march, and to represent women’s voices in the United States,” Martin said.
“Our kids, our family members, our brothers and sisters are sent to war, to an unfair war, and we must say that's enough to the aggressions to other countries,” said Jose Carlos, coalition coordinator for Coalition Primero de Mayo, a non-profit organization representing immigrants rights that also participated in the march.
“The war is taking funds away from education here at home," said Davis Russitano, 27, educator at Gloria R. Davis School in the Bayview District. "My school, for example, is closing this year, and it is because they would rather spend money on bombs and guns instead of on education.”
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