Iraq War fifth year anniversary news round-up
March 20, 2008 2:36 PM
A run-down of events on Wednesday, Mar. 19, the fifth year anniversary Iraq War from San Francisco and Berkeley:
6:20 P.M. PST- Counter-protests at Civic Center
SF State College of Republicans are at the Civic Center Plaza counter-protesting at the ANSWER Rally. Protesters are rallying right now to march.
Hundreds have arrived at San Francisco City Hall according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
4:30 P.M. PST- Protesters in Berkeley gathered at the Marine Recruitment Center
Protesters gathered in Berkeley on Wednesday to mark the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War
World Can’t Wait, a non-violent organization, gathered in front of the Marine Recruitment Center on Shattuck Avenue, led the rally.
There were no reports of any arrests.
Berkeley Police were positioned in front of the Recruitment Center and did not confront the protesters.
In the afternoon, well-known anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan made a speech across the street from Berkeley High School; urging students to walk out of class and join the march back up to the Recruitment Center.
"Berkeley High is at the center of this," said Don Spark, an activist and organizer for World Can't Wait. "These kids can stop this war."
Once the protesters returned to Recruitment Center, Berkeley Police created a barricade at Shattuck and Addison, and diverted traffic.
Numerous organizers spoke to the crowd, before continuing on with the march around Berkeley.
3:00 P.M. PST- SAW gathers at Malcolm X Plaza and heads to Civic Center
To bring attention to the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war, Students Against War (SAW) met in Malcolm X Plaza to prepare for a protest march from the Civic Center to 24th and Mission streets.
While the campus remained fairly quiet throughout the day, protests and rallies were breaking out throughout the downtown area, resulting in several arrests.
SAW had coordinated a demonstration with the city, allowing them to walk the streets without opposition from the police. The march was meant to be peaceful and non-confrontational.
About eight people had shown up in Malcolm X Plaza for the Muni ride downtown with a few more expected to arrive later.
Mihar Bhatt, 30-year-old Statistics major, said the rally was created to bring attention to the ongoing atrocities within the government. “We don’t trust that a new candidate is going to end the war,” said Bhatt.
Once SAW made it to the Civic Center, they marched in the streets, chanting protest slogans and carrying cardboard signs with phrases like “5 Years Too Many” and “Troops Out Now.”
Katrina Yeaw, a 24-year-old graduate student studying History, has been with SAW since its emergence. “All of our demonstrations have been peaceful,” said Yeaw, “We’re going to try and raise people’s spirits.”
In addition to SAW, a couple other student organizations showed up in Malcolm X to join the MUNI trip downtown.
Reverend Nancy Pennekamp from The Edge Campus Ministry was there to represent progressive Christians fighting for justice. The edge was part of today’s Interfaith Peace Vigil at Grace Cathedral.
“We hope to build strength and help the government be proactive,” said Pennekamp.
SAW has become a nationwide organization. Scott Paqette, 22, a political science major, went to a national conference in Wiconson and was surprised to see such large groups and protests in states like Ohio and Iowa.
“It’s good to get the word out because nothing has been moving forward,” said Paquette.
SAW has meetings bi-weekly to plan for upcoming events. Two weeks ago, the group had an Iraqi journalist come speak to the students about the impact of the war in Iraq.
In October, SAW will be attending the Campus Anti-war Network Western Regional Conference at UC Berkeley. The conference will be a round table discussion with other anti-war activists and Iraq war veterans.
SAW meetings are every other Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. in Rosa Parks D.
“This march is about continuity,” said Bhatt, “We want people to keep people informed about the ongoing issues.”
2:30 P.M. PST- More than 120 protesters arrested
At least 100 protesters have now been arrested according to The San Francisco Chronicle. A "scuffle" with police occurred with at least two dozen protesters at a "die-In" on Market & New Montgomery. At least two protesters were wrestled down and one officer was knocked down according to The Chronicle.
12:58 P.M. PST- Arrests climb to more than 50
The San Francisco Police Department has arrested more than 50 demonstrators while trying to keep Market Street open, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
12:30 P.M. PST- Protesters stage another "die-in"
At Market and Montgomery streets in San Francisco, another "die-in" has been staged. Several people have laid out in the middle of the intersection and SFPD are moving into the area.
11:20 A.M. PST- Protesters cause traffic delays, more protesters arrested
San Francisco police have arrested at least 27 people at the "die-in" at Market and Kearney Street.
Protesters are shutting down intersections causing major traffic and Muni delays according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
10:45 A.M. PST- Crowds reached to 500 in SF downtown
The crowd reached around 500 on Market Street between Third and Fifth streets, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. They also reported about 30 people staged a "die-in" on Market and Kearney on the Muni tracks.
Protestors have blocked Market and Third Street.
9:45 A.M. PST - Bush gives speech on anniversary of Iraq war
9:30 A.M. PST - Dozens arrested in morning protests
More than a dozen arrests have been made this morning, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Protesters chained themselves at the Federal Reserve Bank building. Protesters in business suits were also arrested at the Chevron building.
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