Midwest regional protest takes to streets: "End the Wars & Occupations Now!"

Click the Play button above to watch
a slideshow of the demonstration.

Traveling from all over the Midwest, students, working people and antiwar activists, converged in Chicago on October 16 for a regional march and rally on the 9th Anniversary of the Afghanistan war. The October 16 regional protest demanded, “End the Wars and Occupations! Jobs, Peace and Equality Now!” and was coordinated with actions all across the country in the first weeks of October.

Exceeding organizers' expectations, it was the largest protest in the region against the Afghanistan war since the 2001 invasion. Over 1,500 people attended October 16. The great numbers of young people at the protest, and the growing numbers of young people who are joining the movement, energized marchers and was a vital component of October 16’s success.

Protesters carried hundreds of vibrant anti-war banners and placards with them on the march up Michigan Avenue through downtown Chicago. Youth and student contingents raised their fists high in the air and chanted together: “Money for Jobs and Education, Not for War and Occupation!”

Donate Now: To make a very important financial contribution to the antiwar movement, click here now. We cannot continue our organizing efforts to end the wars and occupations without your help!

The ANSWER Coalition had a powerful multinational contingent in the march with booming sound that was led by young people from around the Midwest. Placards in the contingent read “Stand Against War & Racism: Jobs & Schools, Not War” and “End Occupation: Afghanistan, Palestine, Iraq.”

Steven Latimer, a college student who traveled from Columbus, Ohio for the mass action, said, “I joined the October 16 protest to make a difference. I saw people there who joined the march from across the city as we marched through town. Talking to other activists and communicating with other like-minded people was very important. October 16 was a good step forward for the movement.”

Students came from many campuses to march on the streets of Chicago. From the Chicago area students came from: Columbia College, Wright College, Harold Washington College, Truman College, Triton College, Northeastern University of Illinois, UIC, DePaul University, Roosevelt University, Dominican University and Loyola University.

From around the Midwest, students came from: University of Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Saint Mary’s University, Minnesota; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Capital University in Columbus, Ohio; Purdue University; St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa; Florissant Valley Community College in St. Louis; Lincoln University of Missouri; Knox College in Galesburg, Ill.; and Manchester College in Indiana, among others.

Speakers at the October 16 protest included: John Beacham, ANSWER Coalition; Bruce Dixon, Black Agenda Report; Awad Hamdan, American Muslims for Palestine; Monica Heffner, Chicago ADAPT; Lori Perdue, CodePINK; Mike Ferner, Veterans for Peace; Alexy Lanza, La Voz de los de Abajo; Andy Thayer, Chicago Coalition Against War and Racism; and Mick Kelly, Minnesota Anti-war activist who was one of the targets of the recent FBI raids.

To see video of ANSWER Chicago's John Beacham speaking at the Oct. 16 demonstration, click here.

In the weeks before the protest in Chicago, ANSWER volunteers passed out tens of thousands of leaflets at schools and L stops. At a street meeting on October 7 at the busy downtown corner of State and Madison, organizers passed out thousands of leaflets, held up a banner promoting October 16 and used a bullhorn to speak out against war and racism.

Donate Now: To make a very important financial contribution to the antiwar movement, click here now. We cannot continue our organizing efforts to end the wars and occupations without your help!

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