Students hit the streets to protest war
"Money for jobs and education, not for war and occupation" was the overwhelming chant this past Saturday as hundreds gathered in Hollywood to protest the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The day began at noon with a rally at the intersection of Hollywood and Vine. Several speakers spoke from a podium on top of a truck, located at the front of the rally to denounce the wars in the Middle East before the populace began moving down the street at 1:00 P.M., traveling west across Hollywood before finally coming to a stop in front of Mann's Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. The groups in attendance ranged from the Communist Party to Korean Americans For Peace, bringing people from all walks of life together for several hours. The announcement on the same day of the U.S bombing Libya did little to deter the protestors from making their voices heard. Veterans for Peace, one of the more prominent organizations, had a large blimp with them, which displayed their organization's name.
The protest, organized by the ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism), marked the 8th anniversary of the Iraq war. Although the primary focus were the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, many other causes were promoted as well. When asked about the wars, Veterans For Peace member David Troy said, "We're protesting more than that to tell you the truth. Some traitors edited the constitution. It used to say people and now it says corporations."
Sanchez, a representative from the Los Angeles Skywatch, sought to raise awareness of the hazards of "chemtrails" released in the jet streams of commercial planes. He claimed that chemicals such as aluminum that are released in these cloud-like trails are affecting the short-term memory of the American population.
One group, World Can't Wait, had its members dressed in the orange jumpsuits and black hoods made infamous by the Guantanamo Bay scandals that erupted during the Bush administration's power.
Christine Stone, a spokesperson for the group, said that "We want to stop the crimes against humanity, we want to stop the war. We want the torture to stop. We want to hold war criminals accountable for their crimes and we want Bradley Manning freed."
Manning, a soldier accused of giving up confidential U.S. government cables to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, was a prominent figure at the protest. The group Veterans For Peace had several large signs with the slogan "Free Bradley Manning." His name was mentioned many times at the main stage located near the front of the rally.
Manning has been in jail since May 26, 2010, and his imprisonment and upcoming trial have been at the forefront of many recent anti war campaigns.
Another event highlighted was September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks. The group We Are Change L.A. handed out signs declaring "9/11 Was An Inside Job." Dr. Jean-Pierre Giagnoli, a representative from We Are Change LA was very outspoken in his criticisms of the 9/11 attacks. He claimed he could prove in a court of law that the attacks were an orchestration of the U.S government.
Reception to the protest was overwhelmingly positive. One attendee named Vassilios said, "I was against the war and after seeing the protest, I'm still against it." However, some attendees disagreed with the differing viewpoints offered.
Dylan from Orange County said, "There's some good messages here, and there's some not so good messages here that I don't particularly believe in. It is what it is; you've got to take the good with the bad." He felt that those holding signs with claims that the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001 were a façade made the protest look like "a joke."
Other protestors were not as outspoken against the message promoted by We Are Change L.A.
James Anderson, another protestor said he was uncertain of whether or not the attacks that took place on September 11th 2001 were an "inside job." He made note that he did feel they were unconnected from the war in Iraq, a sentiment shared by many people in attendance.