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Center Column Archives
Ten years ago on March 19, the U.S. bombing, invasion, and long-term occupation of Iraq began by order of George W Bush with the consent of the over 70% of Americans. Ten years ago on March 20, those opposed to U.S. military action rose up to protest en masse by shutting down downtown San Francisco in perhaps one of the largest collective acts of civil disobedience ever seen in the area. On the first day alone, nearly 1,500 people were arrested by SFPD.
On March 15, community members gathered at the plaza in Watsonville to remember people whose lives have been lost to violence. Speakers at the rally included youth, community leaders, and family members of lost loved ones. Artists, including poets, rappers, and painters, shared their skills with those in attendance. As the sun went down, the event ended with a candlelight vigil and universal prayer.
Four years ago, Tristan Anderson, an Oakland-based human rights activist, was shot in the head with a tear gas canister by Israeli military police. On March 13th, on the anniversary of Tristan's injury, dozens gathered in Oscar Grant Plaza to celebrate Global Resistance Day. Global Resistance Day honors Tristan and all who have transcended borders and risked their lives to resist tyranny. Friends and family of Tristan Anderson announced that they will soon go to Israel to press charges against the Israeli police on Tristan's behalf.
On Friday, March 1, Women In Black of Santa Cruz, along with other peace groups, demonstrated at the corner of Cooper and Pacific in downtown Santa Cruz to call for an end to the U.S. drone program and to tell the government and President of the United States, "Ground the drones! Stop killing children and other innocent people!"
Coinciding with demonstrations planned worldwide for February 23, Bradley Manning's 1000th day in prison, community members in Santa Cruz gathered at the Town Clock on February 24 to demand justice and humane treatment for the U.S. "whistleblower" soldier. The overwhelming sentiment of the Santa Cruz group was that Manning is a whistleblower and that the role he played exposing the military's crimes was crucial to the functioning of U.S. democracy, as well as a legally permissible activity.
On February 22, rally participants in Palo Alto's Lytton Plaza gathered to demand that measures proposed in Congress to ban semi-automatic and military-style firearms be debated and votes taken. They said that unfortunately supporters of the National Rifle Association's position will oppose reasonable legislation.
On Wednesday, February 13th at 7pm, the Berkeley Police Review Commission will hold a hearing to discuss a possible drone policy for the city of Berkeley. On Thursday, February 14th at 1pm, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors' Public Protection Committee will hold a hearing on the Alameda County Sheriff's plan to purchase and deploy a drone. The Sheriff's office has stated it wanted to use the drone for "suspicious persons" and "large crowd control disturbances."