Thousands take to the streets on the 8th anniversary of the Iraq war

End the wars and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan!
Stop the bombing of Libya!

On March 19, many thousands of people took to the streets to demand an end to U.S. war and military intervention abroad and funding for people’s needs at home. Mass demonstrations took place in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and many other cities across the United States and the world. Below are brief reports.

Los Angeles

March 19 2011 anti-war prostest, Los Angeles
Los Angeles
Photo: Travis Wilkerson

Thousands of people hit the streets in Los Angeles in a spirited, youthful demonstration to stop the wars. Led by Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, including active-duty soldiers and marines, the march of well over 4,000 people chanted, “Money for jobs and education, not for wars and occupation!”

A huge, militant student contingent from high schools and community colleges in Long Beach, Orange County and L.A. participated, along with large numbers from the Muslim community. Immigrant rights activists marched together as did many from the Japanese American community. As the march rounded the corner onto Sunset Blvd. at the CNN building, the crowd got word that U.S. government had begun bombing Libya. Chanting and loud booing erupted. ANSWER organizers took the mic to address the protest, "We oppose all U.S. wars. There is no such thing as 'humanitarian intervention' with this government. We've seen what it looks like in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia and every single time before. We have to be united here today and say, 'Stop bombing Libya!' No more wars for Wall Street, Big Oil and the bankers that have been bailed out to the tune of trillions." 

Speakers included Vietnam Veteran Ron Kovic, students, teachers, union leaders and anti-war activists. Chris Shiflet, the lead guitarist for the Foo Fighters, spoke and played a song. After the rally, military families led an act of civil resistance in front of Mann's Chinese Theatre. The theme was "War is not a movie."

From the main stage at Hollywood and Highland, Iraq war veteran and March Forward! co-founder Mike Prysner said, "Today, we are all making history. We are here to say no to U.S. wars on innocent people abroad and yes to jobs and education right here at home. We don't believe the lies about 'national security' to justify wars. It is, in fact, a 'national security' issue that millions of people are losing their jobs and homes right now. This must end. And it can end if we keep struggling to stop these criminal wars."

Other speakers included, Blase Bonpane, Office of the Americas; Jollene Levid, AF3IRM; Rana Sharif, Palestinian American Women's Association; Ron Kovic, Vietnam Veteran, Author, Born on the Fourth of July; Mika Yamamoto, Japanese American with family and friends in Japan; Peta Lindsay, ANSWER Coalition; Marcy Winograd, anti-war candidate for Congress; Eman Khaleq, University of California, Irvine student; Muna Coobtee, Free Palestine Alliance; Rev. Ricardo Moreno, Immanuel Presbyterian Church; Kwazi Nkrumah, MLK Coalition for Jobs Justice and Peace; Pat Alviso, Military Families Speak Out; Dede Miller, Gold Star Families for Peace; Waqas Syed, Islamic Circle of North America; Mark Ramos, UTLA teacher, pink-slipped three years in a row; Wendy Natividad, KmB Pro-People Youth; Shakeel Syed, Islamic Shura Council of Southern California; Ena Valladares, Party for Socialism and Liberation; Jim Lafferty, National Lawyers Guild; Stevie Merino, Students Fight Back; Juan Jose Gutierrez, Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition and others.

The ANSWER Coalition initiated the March 19 protest in Los Angeles, which was the largest anti-war action in the country that day. Over 100 additional community and progressive organizations mobilized for the action. Major mass media outlets covered the Los Angeles protest, including CNN, Associated Press, NBC, ABC, CBS, Getty Images, Los Angeles City News, Telesur, Press TV, Telemundo, Unavision and many others. 

Click here for more photos from the Los Angeles protest. (Photos by Travis Wilkerson)

March 19 Los Angeles Protest endorsers included: Ron Kovic, Vietnam Veteran and author Born on the 4th of July; Martin Sheen, actor; Oliver Stone, director; National Lawyer's Guild, United Teachers Los Angeles, Office of the Americas, Korean Americans for Peace, AF3IRM, March Forward!, KmB Pro-People Youth, Alliance for Just and Lasting Peace in the Philippines, Labor Unions for Peace, Justice and Jobs, Palestinian American Women’s Association, Students for Justice in Palestine, Free Palestine Alliance, Los Angeles Jews for Peace, Vamos Unidos USA, Union of Guatemalan Immigrants, Military Families Speak Out, Riverside Area Peace and Justice Action, Gold Star Families for Peace, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Veterans for Peace, Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition, Students Fight Back, Korean-Americans for Peace, Korean Democratic Labor Party Supporting Committee, Pan-Korean Alliance for Reunification, LA Palestine Labor Solidarity Committee, Comites de Bases del FMLN, Frente Sandinista del Sur de California, Comite pro-Democracia en Mexico, Tendencia Revolucionaria, Danza Azteca Cuauhtemoc, CODEPINK, Israel Divestment Campaign, Peace with Justice of Pomona Valley, Coffee Party, Party for Socialism and Liberation, Youth and Student ANSWER, MLK Coalition for Jobs Justice and Peace, Cafe Intifada, Peace Bakersfield, Orange County Peace Coalition, Center for Autism Awareness, California Wellness Centers, Californians for Justice, Southern California Young Communist League, Topanga Peace Alliance, Montrose Peace Vigil, Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Santa Monica, Addicted to War, Peace and Freedom Party, UPWARD (Uniting Peace With Actions Respect and Dignity), Bantay Filipinas, Coastal Struggle, Socialist Party Los Angeles, Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition (Los Angeles, Orange County, and Riverside Chapters), Minjok-Tongshin, Green Party, Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, Committee to Stop FBI Repression, Equality Action (LGBT rights organization), Inland Empire Human Rights Coalition, San Diego Coalition for Peace & Justice, The Harmonious Circle, South Bay LGBT Center, Gray Panthers, Revolution Books / Libros Revolucion, L.A. Zamboanga Times, San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper, Grassrootskpfk, Global Women’s Strike, World Can’t Wait, Making Change: A Community Human Rights Newspaper, All African People’s Revolutionary Party, National Chicano Moratorium, Out Against War LA LGBT Greens, Islamic Circle of North America-Southern California and others. 

San Francisco

Despite cold, steady rain, 1,800 people marched and hundreds more rallied in San Francisco demanding an end to the wars and occupations around the world and the war on working people here. Speakers at the opening rally condemned the launching of a new war against Libya, which had begun just hours before.

A strong contingent from UNITE HERE Local 2, the SF hotel workers union, helped lead the march, which ended with a massive picket line in front of the boycotted Westin St. Francis hotel at Union Square. The demonstration was organized by the March 19 Coalition, which was initiated by the ANSWER Coalition.

Washington, D.C.

Veterans arrested at March 19 2011 protest, Washington, DC
Members of March Forward! and Veterans for Peace are arrested in front of the White House
Photo: Bill Hughes

Over 1,500 people participated in a veterans-led civil resistance action initiated by Veterans for Peace that led to the arrest of 113 people at the White House. The ANSWER Coalition, March Forward! and many other organizations supported the event.

At the rally in Lafayette Park, Brian Becker, the national coordinator of the ANSWER Coalition, said: “The U.S. government never tells the people that ‘we’ are going to invade or bomb another country in order to control and exploit its natural resources—especially oil and natural gas—or the labor of the occupied people. That is, of course, the truth. But no mother or father would allow their child to go to war for the crass function of exploitation. The U.S. government always states that each Pentagon invasion or bombing attack is for humanitarian rather than imperial objectives.

“Today, on the eight anniversary of the criminal invasion of Iraq, the United States, Britain and France are poised to begin a massive bombing of Libya--again, they say, for noble, humanitarian reasons. That is a lie that we must expose. Libya is the largest producer of oil on the African continent and the imperialists want to re-conquer the country and its resources. We, in the ANSWER Coalition, stand against any military action against Libya. The Libyan people, and they alone, must be the masters of their own destiny.”

Ryan Endicott at March 19 2011 anti-war prostest, Washington
Ryan Endicott from March Forward! speaks in Washington, D.C.
Photo: Roger Scott

Caneisha Mills, an organizer with the ANSWER Coalition, also addressed Libya in her talk, saying: “The U.S. government claims it will bring democracy and freedom to Libya; these are the same terms used to invade Iraq! After the massive and ongoing slaughter in Iraq and Afghanistan we know that is not true!”

Ryan Endicott, a member of March Forward! and an Iraq war veteran who served in Ramadi, told the crowd: “We know firsthand that our enemy is not the people of Iraq, who for eight years have been struggling to survive a brutal occupation. It is not the people of Afghanistan who for over a decade have been struggling to survive a brutal occupation. The biggest threat to the people of the United States is not thousands of miles away, but hundreds of yards away, right here in the White House, in the Pentagon, on Wall Street. It’s the bankers that take our homes, the CEOs that lay off from our jobs only to take million dollar bonuses.”


On March 19 in Chicago, 1,000 people marched on Michigan Ave. to demand an immediate end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Protesters carried signs that read "No War on Libya!" and "Stand Against War and Racism: Money for Jobs and Education, Not War!" A very popular chant was "End, End the War! Tax, Tax the Rich!"

The many contingents in the march included Palestine solidarity groups, free Bradley Manning activists, youth and student contingents, many neighborhood peace groups and the ANSWER Chicago contingent, which carried Egyptian and Wisconsin flags, and a banner that read: "From Egypt to Wisconsin to Chicago ... : Time to Fight Back!"

Protests also took place around the country, including in Phoenix, Arizona; Fort Bragg, Fresno, Laguna Hills, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz, California; Evergreen, Colorado; New Haven, Connecticut; Daytona Beach, North Miami and Orlando, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; Dubuque and Iowa City, Iowa; Boston, Massachusetts; St. Paul, Minnesota; Biloxi, Mississippi; Kansas City, Missouri; Keene, New Hampshire; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Highland Park, New Jersey; Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Dayton, Ohio; Eugene and Portland, Oregon; King of Prussia, Pennsylvania; Hilton Head Island, South Carolina; Austin, Dallas and Houston, Texas; Salt Lake City, Utah; Seattle, Washington; Racine, Wisconsin.

Please make a donation today to help the ANSWER Coalition to continue this important work. For the last decade, the ANSWER Coalition has been in the forefront building a movement against imperialism and war, and in support of the demand of working people and youth for social justice.


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