With the support of everyone in the antiwar movement around the country, the September 24th demonstration was a magnificent success. We had hoped for 100,000 people, and more than 300,000 joined the protest.
We received media coverage all around the world. The article below, from the Washington Post, took up the front page of the newspaper above the fold. The ANSWER Coalition initiated this demonstration on May 12, 2005 under the slogans "Stop the War Against Iraq" and "End Colonial Occupation from Iraq, to Palestine, to Haiti and Everywhere." We also later connected the war in Iraq with Bush's criminal neglect in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
On May 12, we also proposed to the United for Peace and Justice that our two coalitions enter into a united front for the purpose of maximizing the broadest possible turnout in the streets. We believe that the final agreement to organize a joint rally and joint march was in the best interests of launching a wider struggle against the war-makers.
Everyone should feel very proud in the success of this demonstration, and the large-scale protests that also took place in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, and in other cities. More than 350 cities and towns organized transportation to come to Washington DC. The commitment and self-sacrifice of local organizers speaks to the fact that this movement has taken off.
If you could not go to the demonstration or you know a friend or family member that could not go, but would like to have gone, you can now join the demonstration from home! We've set up an easy mechanism so you can let the politicians know that you stand with the more than 300,000 people at the Sept. 24 March on Washington and are demanding Bring the Troops Home Now, spend money on human needs - not war and occupation!
We want to send a special "thank you" to the hundreds of A.N.S.W.E.R. volunteers who helped with stage and sound set up, takedown, fund collection, march security, and the tireless around-the-clock work that was necessary to make the demonstration so successful. Many volunteers have hardly slept for the last 72 hours.
We also want to send a special "thank you" to all of those who have also made a financial contribution. This movement exists because of the commitment of those who can make a financial contribution. We have to keep up the momentum. If you would like to continue to sustain the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition and build on this national success to take the next steps, please make a generous donation.
Antiwar Fervor Fills the Streets
Demonstration Is Largest in Capital Since U.S. Military Invaded Iraq
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, September 25, 2005
Tens of thousands of people packed downtown Washington yesterday and marched past the White House in the largest show of antiwar sentiment in the nation's capital since the conflict in Iraq began.
The demonstration drew grandmothers in wheelchairs and babies in strollers, military veterans in fatigues and protest veterans in tie-dye. It was the first time in a decade that protest groups had a permit to march in front of the executive mansion, and, even though President Bush was not there, the setting seemed to electrify the crowd.
Signs, T-shirts, slogans and speeches outlined the cost of the Iraq conflict in human as well as economic terms. They memorialized dead U.S. troops and Iraqis, and contrasted the price of war with the price of recovery for areas battered by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Riffs on Vietnam-era protests were plentiful, with messages declaring, "Make Levees, Not War," "I never thought I'd miss Nixon" and "Iraq is Arabic for Vietnam." Many in the crowd had protested in the 1960s; others weren't even born during those tumultuous years.
Protest organizers estimated that 300,000 people participated, triple their original target. D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey, who walked the march route, said the protesters achieved the goal of 100,000 and probably exceeded it. Asked whether at least 150,000 showed up, the chief said, "That's as good a guess as any.
"It's their protest, not mine. It was peaceful -- that's all I care about," Ramsey said.
The protesters rallied at the Ellipse, then marched through a misty drizzle around the White House and along Pennsylvania Avenue NW. The crowd thinned as events continued into the evening with a concert on the grounds of the Washington Monument that featured Joan Baez and other performers, along with antiwar speeches.
The police presence along the demonstration's route seemed more relaxed than at recent protests, although D.C. police and U.S. Park Police had hundreds of officers in place to deal with potential trouble. Police said a construction fence was torn down and a newspaper box damaged, but they reported no injuries or major problems. They said three people were arrested -- one on a charge of destruction of property, one on a charge of attempted theft and one on a charge of disorderly conduct.
More than 200 counter-demonstrators set up outside the FBI building on Pennsylvania Avenue, and some back-and-forth yelling occurred as the antiwar marchers moved past. "Shame on you! Shame on you!" one counter-protester shouted at the antiwar group. Several dozen officers stood between the two groups, and no trouble erupted, police said.
Some organizations supporting the war in Iraq plan to demonstrate today on the Mall.
Antiwar groups staged smaller rallies yesterday in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, London, Rome and other cities. In Washington, the events were sponsored by groups including the ANSWER Coalition and United for Peace and Justice and focused on a succinct theme: "End the War in Iraq and Bring the Troops Home Now."
Roughly 147,000 U.S. troops are in Iraq. Since the war began in March 2003, 1,911 U.S. members of the military have been killed and 14,641 have been wounded.
The protest groups helped organize caravans and carpools, and many participants began arriving early in the morning after bumpy, all-night bus rides.