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Huge Anti-War march in San Francisco
by Altaf A. Bhimji
Sunday Oct 27th, 2002 12:56 AM
Huge Anti-War March in San Francisco - Let's keep the momentum going!
salaam ailaikum -

A report from San Francisco

(Please note that my reports are usually more discriptive - for content re: the issues around this war - check out and their section on Iraq, and mid-east - Altaf )

The San Francisco march was huge - like really huge - I began the march by getting on BART - the underground/subway train system for the bay area at 24th and Mission. Usually on a Saturday morning the trains are pretty sparse - and plenty of seats around the ride. This morning, while waiting for the train, the platform filled up quickly - and when the train arrived - it was packed - like more than rush hour packed - and full of protestors.

We all got off at the Embarcadero station, and it seemed as if the entire station had been taken over by the anti-war demonstrators - as we wen't up the escalator - the sight was incredible - market st. was packed full of people, as was the surrounding sidewalks, and the plaza area around the street.

The speakers were powerful - no doubt energized by the size of this crowd - and their voices echoed off the buildings. The march itself began around 12:00 or so... usually a march on Market St. to Civic ctr. - two lanes of this four lane pretty wide st. is closed.

Today all four lanes were closed - and as we marched the stretch towards civic ctr. we were packed together for almost all of the duration of that 1.5 to 2 miles march. And when we arrived at Civic Ctr. there were already possibly 20-25,000 people there, and the march still stretched all the way back to the start. And thousands, and tens of thousands of people continued to pour into the front area of the Civic Ctr. - with drums, loud chanting and noise makers, and saxaphones, and a band riving up the crowd with We Shall Overcome.

And a sports stadium style sound wave making sure that everyone around heard the roar of the people loud and clear.

I've attended many marches in the bay area - and this one has been the largest - the mainstream news media reported over 50,000 - it was larger - my estimate is around 70-75,000, it was reported that CNN at one point estimated it around 80,000 - perhaps a 100,000 came out - making this one the largest, if not the largest anti-war demo. since the vietnam war era demonstrations. Not to overplay the numbers game, but D.C. often has way more people than San Francisco in these types of marches - often the D.C. numbers are double that of San Francisco... so 150 - 200,000 is not an unreaseonable estimate for D.C.

We left the march around 2:30, and at that time - some 2 and a half hours after the march started- huge numbers of people were still coming in - after taking the usual route of kabab, naan, khorma, daal, and chaawal at the local cool Pakistani place - (Shalimar) we were on our way back to BART -and lo and behold we saw a big group of people on their way back to the start of the march. This was a splinter group that decided to keep on marching - estimated to be about 600, i'd say a 1000 - who took over Market St. a second time around. We joined this group for a while - as they weaved their way through the street. - The police followed us with lots of cars, and wagaons - The crowd then turned a corner and went up towards the financial district, and was going through heavy traffic. We decided at this point to not go further since we also had a baby protestor with us - and the cops had increased their presence and seemed to be readying themselves -

This group as it turned out was headed towards an army office - where they demonstrated for a while - no one was arrested.

Both the San Francisco march, and the D.C. march were very important - the large numbers - make an imortant show of people opposed to this war. More importantly is also the number of new people who continue to join us in these demonstrations, and often get their first experience of being part of such a rally. The numbers, and your showing up does make a difference - these numbers are counted - not just what the media reports - but accurate reports about numbers attending, growth from one demo. to another - are something that the "white" house people do pay attention to...

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