As of Sept. 26, organizations in 27 cities in North America have called demonstrations, meetings, vigils or other actions, mostly for the weekend of Oct. 5-7, to mark the 11th anniversary of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and to protest further wars “at home and abroad.”
Demonstrations are also scheduled in London, England; Tehran, Iran, and Islamabad, Pakistan, on that weekend in solidarity with the actions here, according to the Web page october7actions.net/wordpress/, which lists the actions in all the cities with time and place.
The demonstrations, which were called and coordinated by the United National Antiwar Coalition and others, have highlighted the issues: ending the occupation of Afghanistan, demanding hands off Syria and no war on Iran, as well as protesting drone attacks. UNAC has also focused the protests on what the group calls “war at home.” This means especially the ongoing persecution of Muslims within the U.S. since Sept. 11, 2001, and the stop-and-frisk laws that target youth of color in U.S. cities.
In the biggest three U.S. cities, groups have taken up the call for action. In Los Angeles, a broad coalition has called for an action on Oct. 6 at 2 p.m. at downtown L.A.’s Pershing Square Park, which has been the site of large union rallies and demonstrations against police brutality and bank bailouts.
“On Aug. 27, the Arab Americans for Syria; the Union of Progressive Iranians; Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition; School of the Americas Watch-LA; ALBA-USA; Latinos Against the War; and the International Action Center announced the Pershing Square demonstration and secured a permit for the area,” writes IAC spokesperson John Parker. “Since then, more endorsers and participants have joined, including a former vice president of SEIU Local 721, Rosie Martinez — also a leading member of the union’s Latino Caucus, and the largest immigration coalition in Los Angeles — the Southern California Immigration Coalition — and a very active and militant youth organization — the Youth Justice Coalition.”
Besides the issues named above, the L.A. protest will also target immigration raids and deportations and the need for jobs. Parker expects the protest “will help to qualitatively strengthen the anti-war movement here in Los Angeles.”
In the Midwest metropolis of Chicago, where a major anti-NATO national demonstration was held in May, the Committee Against Political Repression, the 8th Day Center for Justice, the Gay Liberation Network, the American Friends Service Committee and the Oak Park Coalition for Truth & Justice have called for a demonstration on Sunday, Oct. 7 at 3 p.m., at the Tribune Tower at 435 N. Michigan Ave.
The coalition has targeted the Tribune newspaper “to call attention to the fact that the War in Afghanistan has become clearly absent in mainstream media,” according to the group’s leaflet. The demonstrators rallying at the Tribune will march at 4 p.m., first to President Barack Obama’s campaign headquarters and then to the headquarters of Chicago-based Boeing, the second largest weapons manufacturer, which has a growing role in the drone industry.
Besides the demands above, the Chicago protest will demand, “Stop FBI repression of anti-war activists!” and “Money for jobs, education and health care, not for war!”
In New York City, the demonstration will take place at the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building at 125th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard in Harlem on Oct. 7 from 5 to 7 p.m. UNAC, the Muslim Leadership Council of Metro N.Y., DRUM, the International Action Center and the Muslim Peace Coalition USA made a point of calling the action in Harlem and reaching out to the Black community.
The coalition is also demanding “No sanctions! Hands off Syria & Iran, Stand with Palestine!” and “Stop the Cutbacks! End Stop and Frisk! No to racism, raids and repression!”
In Islamabad on Oct. 7 there will be a rally opposing drone attacks and U.S. intervention in Pakistani affairs. Thirty to sixty people from U.S. anti-war groups will go to Pakistan to join the event, which will include others from India, Europe and Australia as well as thousands of Pakistani citizens. An international press conference is set for Oct. 9. Imran Khan’s PTI party is sponsoring the event.
In Tehran on Oct. 5, after Friday mass prayer, some organizations of the Iranian university student movement will hold protest actions, intending to chant slogans and bring banners to raise demands such as ”No war on Syria and Iran,” “U.S./NATO out now from Afghanistan and Iraq” and “End the hateful anti-Islam campaign.”
In Vancouver, Canada, on Oct. 6, at 1 p.m., the Mobilization Against War & Occupation has called on people to gather at the Vancouver Art Gallery, Robson & Howe streets, downtown.
For information on all 30 cities, including multiple actions in some cities, see october7actions.net/wordpress/.