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'End the occupation of Iraq! Free Mumia!'

It was a holiday and it was steaming hot--in the way Philadelphia gets in July. But 5,000 people put aside thoughts of cool comfort on July 4 and marched through the downtown streets demanding the U.S. get out of Iraq and let the troops come home.

And, in this city that feels like a plantation, they raised yet again the cry of justice for native son Mumia Abu-Jamal, whose powerful and passion ate voice of outrage the police want to hush forever. On death row for 20 years despite abundant evidence of his innocence, Abu-Jamal is paying for the crime of exposing racism and police brutality in the "City of Brotherly Love."

At rallies before and after the march, which wound through the historic district where the Declaration of Independence was drafted, speakers tied the monstrous crimes of U.S. imperialism abroad to its festering sores at home--symptoms of a rotting capitalist system that can produce in abundance but turns wealth into pov erty while spreading war and violence.

Unity in action had been achieved among various currents in the progressive movement. The event was sponsored by Philadelphia ANSWER, Phila delphia Regional Anti-War Network, Minority Experience Network, Avenging the Ancestors Coalition, Unite for Peace and International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal.

--Deirdre Griswold

Reprinted from the July 17, 2003, issue of Workers World newspaper

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