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Day of Rage spurred by anger at U.S. aggression

Published Oct 20, 2011 11:42 PM

It was called as a global Day of Rage that also focused on the 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. This convergence of events on Oct. 15 put tens of thousands of people in motion here in New York and in other cities across the country, reinforcing their anger at imperialist wars.

OWS and UNAC march to Times Square to
theme of ‘Wall Street = War Street.’
Photos: Alan Roth

The connection between the 1 percent who profit from government bailouts and those profiting from endless wars could not be clearer.

On Oct. 14, the corporate media carried new threats against Iran and wild charges of an Iranian assassination plot in Washington, D.C., as front-page news, along with President Barack Obama’s announcement about sending U.S. Special Forces into central Africa. Opposition to these latest war threats was reflected in signs reading “Occupy Wall Street, NOT Iran” and “U.S. Troops out of Africa.”

Other signs raised opposition to the U.S. wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya and the drone attacks on Pakistan, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen, along with demands for “Jobs, NOT Wars” and to “Stop Attacks on Muslims and Immigrant Workers,” “End U.S. Aid to Israel” and “Free Palestine.”

The New York demonstration was called by the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC). It gathered at Wall Street and Broadway, the center of New York’s financial district and three blocks from Zuccotti Park’s month-long encampment. Hundreds packed the narrow street as police pushed against the front ranks, trying to clear the street and sidewalks.

Those carrying a banner reading “Wall Street = War Street” led the march. Aya, Jen, Caleb and other youth on drums and banners swept north and encircled Zuccotti Park with anti-war signs and banners while horns blared. Hundreds of youth at Zuccotti Park joined in the march, which gathered even more forces as it moved uptown on Broadway.

Police lines tried to prevent the anti-war group from marching through a street fair on Broadway between Canal and Houston streets. But the drummers and banners, along with militant Filipina youth from BAYAN USA carrying many flags, helped hold the growing protest together. Cheers and applause from those packing the street fair confirmed the deep support for Occupy Wall Street.

Marches and actions converged as several demonstrations against banks, a commemoration at the African burial ground and several union contingents all came together, many thousands strong, at Washington Square Park. Demonstrators then reformed into different contingents and headed separately to Times Square.

Tens of thousands gathered at Times Square and blocked streets in all directions. The many hundreds of anti-war signs carried in the march earlier in the day continued to be carried by youth into militant confrontations with police later that evening.