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Invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq opposed in U.S. cities

Published Oct 25, 2009 10:49 PM

Coordinated anti-war demonstrations took place around the U.S. on Oct. 17 to mark the eighth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and to demand an end to the U.S.-led war and occupation there as well as in Iraq.

WW photo: Kris Hamel

A New England-wide demonstration of 2,000 protesters rallied and marched in downtown Boston. The Bail Out the People Movement contingent featured a banner that read “Jobs and Health Care Are a Right! Fund Workers, Not Wall Street.” The contingent emphasized the need to link the wars against the workers and oppressed at home and abroad.

In San Diego, over 100 people gathered at the downtown federal building on Oct. 16 with signs denouncing the continuing U.S. wars against and occupations of Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine. Strong support for the action was expressed by passing motorists and pedestrians.

Among the many homemade signs held by protesters were ones reading “Stop the U.S.- Israeli Massacre of Gaza,” “No to Wars and Corporate Bailouts—Yes to Jobs and Medicare for All” and “U.S. Out of the Middle East.” The protest was sponsored by the San Diego Coalition for Peace and Justice.

San Francisco
WW photo: Judy Greenspan

At Market Square in Cleveland, the Northeast Ohio Anti-War Coalition, Veterans for Peace, People’s Fightback Center, Cleveland FIST (Fight Imperialism/Stand Together), American Friends Service Committee and several other anti-war groups held a protest.

Calling for an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, around 200 people came out in Philadelphia. Demonstrators gathered at City Hall where a short rally was held. Speakers there included Berta Joubert-Ceci of the International Action Center, who recently returned from a solidarity delegation to Honduras. She spoke about the importance of U.S. protests against the military coup d’etat in that country.

After a march through Center City, a second rally was held across from the Liberty Bell. There, Leila Duka, the 11-year-old daughter of Fort Dix Five defendant Dritan Duka, addressed the crowd on the cases of Muslims who have been targeted by the FBI. Award-winning author Susan Abulhawa of Playgrounds for Palestine spoke in support of the United Nations report that condemns Israel for war crimes in Gaza. The need to link wars and injustice to the fight against globalization and the economic crisis at home was addressed by several speakers.

Over 1,000 people came out in San Francisco to demand “U.S. Troops Out of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan” at a demonstration organized by the Oct. 17 Antiwar Coalition. The lead banner called for “Money for Jobs, Pensions, Education, Health Care and Housing—Not Wars and Corporate Bailouts!”

The march route went through the busy Market Street shopping area and past the offices of the San Francisco Chronicle before ending back at Civic Center. A large number of speakers addressed the crowd from labor, religious, solidarity and community organizations.

Some 50 protesters gathered in downtown Detroit to demand U.S. troops out of Afghanistan, Iraq and everywhere. A rally and speak-out was chaired by Abayomi Azikiwe of the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War and Injustice, which called the action.

Speakers included representatives of the Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures, Evictions and Utility Shut-offs; Detroit Green Party; Vietnam Veterans Against the War from Port Huron, Mich.; the Palestine solidarity group, Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends; and Fight Imperialism/Stand Together (FIST).

The speakers continually raised how the hundreds of billions spent on imperialist wars abroad are desperately needed by oppressed and working people in Detroit to stop the state of economic disaster devastating those in this hard-hit city. Passersby, including many Detroit buses, honked their support for the demonstrators.

Frank Neisser, Bob McCubbin, Caleb T. Maupin, Betsey Piette and Judy Greenspan contributed to this article.