|San Diego Union-Tribune
September 30, 2001
Anti-war rally held in D.C.
Few arrested as thousands march to the Capitol
By PAUL M. KRAWZAK
COPLEY NEWS SERVICE
WASHINGTON -- Carrying signs with messages like "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind," several thousand demonstrators converged on the capital yesterday to oppose a military response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on Washington and New York City.
The demonstrators massed to hear speakers deliver anti-war messages and criticism of U.S. foreign policy and marched to the World Bank and the Capitol.
The number of protesters was far less than the 100,000 who had been expected to rally against global economic policies during a meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank scheduled for this weekend.
That meeting was called off after the terrorist attacks, and protesters refashioned their message to one of peace.
Police reported fewer than a dozen arrests yesterday and no injuries. Several people were charged with crossing a police line, they said.
Demonstrators bore papier-mache representations of human bodies and paper models of doves as they marched to the Capitol. They chanted "We want peace in the Middle East" and "Hey, hey, ho, ho, this racist war has got to go." Dozens of police clad in black riot gear lined the route.
Lila Kitaeff, 22, traveled to the rally from St. Paul, Minn., because she felt she "had to speak out against racism and war."
Kitaeff has yet to figure out what is the best response to the terrorist assaults. She hopes Americans will look inward to find the "root cause" of hate against
America, she said.
John Jordan, 24, was carrying two small American flags with cardboard peace signs attached to them. He said despite his horror at the attacks, he is worried about a U.S. reaction.
"I'm concerned more innocent people might die," he said.
Like Jordan and Kitaeff, the majority of protesters seemed to be under 40.
International ANSWER, Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, a recently formed coalition, organized the march.
The Washington Peace Center and other groups planned another march for today.
During an earlier rally, James Creedon, a paramedic, told the crowd he was "almost killed" during rescue efforts at the World Trade Center. "I lost four
people from my squad and hundreds of others who were workers," he added.
Creedon opposes a violent response to terrorism because "war will not bring our loved ones back," he said.
"I've been to ground zero, and I know what it looks like to see the death of innocent people."
As Creedon spoke, two men on stilts walked through the crowd, one dressed in a black outfit that he said represented an African god. The other wore a tuxedo and carried a white flag symbolizing peace. Another marcher bore the red, black, white and green Palestinian flag.
Elsewhere, a peace rally in San Francisco drew close to 5,000 people yesterday to Dolores Park. Besides opposition to U.S. military retaliation, the
demonstrators voiced concerns over racism, civil liberties and other issues.
In Spain, about 5,000 people marched in Barcelona behind a banner that read: "No More Victims. For Peace," at a rally organized by the Let's Stop The War committee of some 70 associations -- ranging from labor unions and political parties to social groups.
Several hundred people attended an open-air concert in Athens yesterday to protest possible American military strikes.
"We condemn the deaths of 6,000 people in New York, at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania. We want justice for the dead," said Ava Babili, a spokesman
for Greece's branch of Amnesty International. "We also do not want any more victims as a result of military action."
One of the more surrealistic moments of the protest in Washington occurred after Larry Holmes, a speaker from International ANSWER, told the crowd
that police were preventing protesters at the World Bank from coming to the rally.
"They don't want this rally to grow any stronger," he charged.
A half hour later, the demonstrators arrived. They were led by a group playing drums, cymbals, horns and whistles and chanting "No war."
Dozens of police in riot gear, with protesters scattered among them, followed as if part of a parade.
Police said they at first held the demonstrators at the World Bank because they lacked a protest permit. Police then escorted them to the rally, said
District of Columbia Assistant Police Chief Michael Fitzgerald.
Off to the side, a small group staged a counterprotest. Bill Fredericks, 40, held up a sign saying "God bless the U.S.A."
Fredericks agrees with the administration's response. He said the United States is at war with terrorists whether it likes it or not.
"We have to do whatever it takes for bin Laden and his people to be gone," he said.
The Associated Press was used in this report.