Report on the March 21 Protest in L.A.

[by Chloe Osmer]

On March 21st, thousands of people gathered in Los Angeles to protest the 6th anniversary of the Iraq war. The rally began at Hollywood Blvd. and Vine Street, with speakers addressing the crowd before the march began. Speakers included Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq in 2004, Vietnam veteran and author of Born on the Fourth of July Ron Kovic, Academy award-winning director Paul Haggis, along with teachers, youth and many others.

The speakers called for the complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, and end to the occupation in Palestine. They also urged that funds being spent on war and occupation be used instead to deal with the economic crisis and fund the education, housing and employement needs in the U.S. A speaker from the National Assembly called on those assembled for the demonstration to broaden the movement and continue the struggle after the march. The conference in Pittsburgh was announced and all were invited to attend on July 10-12 to help plan the next steps for the antiwar movement.

After the rally there was a march through Hollywood to the Kodak Theater, where they staged a “die in,” laying down in the the busy intersection to highlight the deaths from the wars and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Protestors at the head of the march held mock coffins covered in flags, which were presented to the Armed Forces Recruiting Center. The demonstration was sponsored by the National Assembly, A.N.S.W.E.R Coalition and Los Angeles Iraq Veterans against the war.

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SPONSORED By THE MOBILIZATION TO FREE MUMIA ABU-JAMAL & THE INTERNATIONAL CONCERNED FAMILY AND FRIENDS OF MUMIA ABU-JAMAL. CO-SPONSORS: Courage Foundation/Assange & Middle East Children’s Alliance, Arab Resource Organizing Center. HEAR Alice Walker, prize-winning novelist; Daniel Ellsberg of the Pentagon Papers; Jamal Jr, Mumia’s grandson; Chris Hedges, prize-winning journalist