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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 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 February 17th, while 350.org and the Sierra Club led the largest climate rally in history in Washington, DC, their Bay Area chapters held a West Coast solidarity rally. In San Francisco 5,000 surrounded the US Department of State building at 1 Market street, then marched to a rally at Bradley Manning Plaza.
Caleen Sisk, Chief and Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, said the Tribe strongly opposes the tentative approval of genetically engineered salmon by the Food and Drug Administration. “The Winnemem Wintu object to GE production, as it would certainly impact our obligation to salmon and would change the traditional responsibility to salmon and our relationship that exists for thousands of years," Sisk said.
On February 14th, cities across the globe joined the One Billion Rising campaign to stop violence against women and girls. In Northern California, participating cities included Fresno, Santa Cruz, Monterey, Oakland, and San Francisco. One Billion Rising began as a call to action based on the staggering statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than one billion women and girls.

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