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No to the occupation of Iraq

October 3, 2003 | Page 10

THOUSANDS TURNED out across the country on September 28 as part of a day of action to protest the occupation of Iraq and Palestine. The demonstrations were called by International ANSWER on the date marking the third anniversary of the Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation.

A thousand protesters marched through midtown Manhattan in New York City, in the first major demonstration in New York City since the start of the occupation of Iraq. "It is our responsibility to mobilize against imperialism and colonialism all around the world," union organizer Sonny Suchder told Socialist Worker. "Their struggle is our struggle."

Speakers included union leader Brenda Stokely of District Council 1707 and U.S. Labor Against War, and Nellie Bailey of the Harlem Tenants Council. "The U.S. went to war for oil...They lied to the soldiers and now they're dying," Kehan Desousa told Socialist Worker.

The same day also saw the largest West Coast antiwar protest in more than six months, as 5,000 demonstrators took to the streets of San Francisco. "We're here because the war isn't over," fourth-year University of California-Davis student Jenny Olson told Socialist Worker.

Chants of "No more wars, no more bombs--not another Vietnam" echoed up and down the streets. "[The protest] was definitely smaller than it was last spring, but it will only grow as more body bags come back from Iraq," said Michael Smith of the University of California-Berkeley Stop the War coalition.

In Los Angeles, 4,000 people marched through Hollywood. Fernando Suarez Solano, whose son was killed in Iraq, took the stage with other family members of active-duty soldiers. "My son was a soldier for peace, not for oil," he said. "My son did not die in vain, nor did other people's sons. They died to unite us here today."

"The families of soldiers are marching. Soon, the soldiers will be marching with us, too," said Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic. Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich also spoke, saying that it was "time to get the [United Nations] in and the U.S. out" of Iraq.

Kucinich's speech was well received, and, as was evident by the number of Kucinich supporters at the demonstrations, an indication that many people have illusions in the Democrats and the UN to bring peace to Iraq. But protesters are also vowing to keep building the fight against Bush's war and occupation in the streets.

We need to end the occupation now. All out for Washington, D.C., and San Francisco on October 25!

Candice Amich, Lee Wengraf, John Green and Evan Kornfeld contributed to this report.

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