Socialist Worker

Washington protest biggest since Iraq war started

Issue No. 1970

Cindy Sheehan on the march

Cindy Sheehan on the march

Hundreds of thousands of people protested in Washington last Saturday showing that the movement against the Iraq war is ­growing in strength across the US.

Virginia Rodino, who was one of the United for Peace and Justice mobilising

co-ordinators for the protest, told Socialist Worker, “This was the biggest demonstration in the US since the 15 February 2003 protests.

“This was representative of the mood in the US. The protest was calling for the US troops to be brought home.

“There were many black people on the march, which reflected the aftermath of the impact of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans. There was a lot of anger and recognition of the Bush administration’s racism and class bias.

“Cindy Sheehan, whose son Casey was killed in Iraq, addressed the crowd, as did Respect MP George Galloway. They both received a brilliant reception. Many of the speakers gave anti-imperialist messages.

“There were three days of action, including a concert. It was really exciting to see 50,000 young people listening to the anti-war speeches at the concert.

“On Monday of this week thousands of people took part in non-violent direct action and lobbied senators and representaives asking them to support anti-war legislation.

“Events like the revelations of the Downing Street memo which showed that Bush and Blair planned the war, George Galloway’s hearing at the US senate and Cindy Sheehan’s camp at Bush’s ranch have had an impact in the US.”

New Orleans evacuees carried placards reading, “Make levees, not humvees”, “Baghdad burns, New Orleans sinks, Halliburton profits”, and “Stop the hurricane of poverty and war”.

Elaine Johnson, whose son Darius Jennings was killed in Iraq in November 2003, joined the demonstration.

Her anger over her son’s death forced Bush to meet her. She said, “I asked him why soldiers like my son were still dying in Iraq, and he said, ‘to finish the mission’. I asked what the mission was, but he was already leaving the room.”

Bush had given families of bereaved soldiers a presidential coin. As he left he said, “Now don’t go selling those on eBay.”

US police arrested Cindy Sheehan at the protest on Monday.

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