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Indybay Feature

March 21st 2009 Anti-War Protest In San Francisco

by Z
On Saturday, March 21st, protest marches took place across the U.S. and around the world on the sixth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.

The protest in San Francisco this year seemed a bit smaller than in past years. The starting rally at 11am seemed even smaller unless you walked around a bit. The main stage was in Justin Herman Plaza but there were two other stages nearby; a labor contingent against the war had a stage South of the main plaza and BAYAN and and a few other groups had speakers North of it in Embarcadero Plaza.

At noon all groups came together and the crowd on Market Street was probably several thousand strong for awhile. The rain started getting worse as the march progressed and many people left before the march finished in Civic Center Plaza (where there were more speakers)
by Z
§Main Crowd In Justin Herman Plaza
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§Code Pink On Stage
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§One Of Main Speakers/Organizers
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§Other Main Speaker Organizer
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§Code Pink Speaking
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§Anti-War Speaker
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§Anti-War Speaker
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§Anti-War Speaker
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§Anti-War Speaker
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§Anti-Prop 8 Speaker
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§US Budget
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§Labor Rally Speakers
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§Speakers At Rally North Of Main Rally
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§March Starting
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§Filipino Women Demand US Out
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§FMLN Banner
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§IWW Banner
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by $
I just heard on KPFA 6 p.m. news, 3/21/09, that there were 4,000 marchers and 200 police. Clearly, the police were there to cause grief and with their Zionist friends who showed their idiot faces in front of City Hall across from our peace rally, attacked a cihld, now described as a 12 year old, and others came to the child's defense. The people who were beaten by the police should sue the City of San Francisco for millions of dollars. The pro-Israel Democratic Party machine of San Francisco clearly did not like the main theme of our peace march: Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine: Occupation is a Crime. The Palestine issue always separates the sheep from the lambs. I am glad the peace movement has put the Palestine issue front and center; it gets rid of the con artists commonly known as the Democratic Party. From the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, Palestine will be free!
by Moorlock
Haven’t I promised myself before that I would never go to another fucking ANSWER parade again?

It’s not that it was a complete waste of time. Intelligent, well-meaning people do sometimes bravely come forth to these things. But damn. You rarely see so much stupid in one place. The end of these marches is a sort of communist fringe group trade show in the Civic Center plaza in San Francisco. I think capitalist trade shows can be pretty hilarious, but communist ones just make me feel kind of dirty, like being invited to a party and then having your host tell racist jokes all through dinner.

The rally at the end of the parade was like a communist fringe group trade show.

The march and rally were pretty small by San Francisco standards — probably a combination of bad weather, the lower news profile of the wars these days, and the obama­stupi­fi­ca­tion of local liberals. Still, it was enough to merit a group of counter-protesters: Zionists waving Israeli flags behind a couple of police barricades. I only saw one of their signs: in an ocean of blue-and-white flags it read “The Iraq War Is Not About Israel.” Nice to have that cleared up.

A fracas broke out between protesters and the police who were lined up between the Zionists and their Palestinian-sympathetic flag-waving counterparts. This led to a good fifteen minutes of heavily amplified, monotonous, and predictably ignored demands for the police to leave the area. Sixteen minutes probably would have done it. Myself, I was ready to leave after considerably less. I’ve never claimed to be cut out for the force.

The fascist pigs try to keep the people from saving Mumia from the imperialists.

I swear to god that if those morons from ANSWER ever threaten to have any meaningful political power, I’ll be ready to put on a badge myself and join the counterrevolution. Meanwhile, I’m through. People with stronger stomachs than mine can do outreach at these things; I’m moving on to less-revolting revolutionary activity.

by Ronny Zeid (ronnyzzs [at]
The police werent there to calm things down, they are racist. they would not let us cross torward the zionist side, but they let a zionist come over, THROUGH THE FENCES the police put up, and he tried to knock a speaker on my head, thankfully a nice lady caught it.

Not only that the kid was 8 years old, i was on security with south bay ANSWER, the police rep, said the kid threw a rock, THATS BULL. the kid never threw a rock, nor did he have a backpack full of them, he had like a ziploc with a couple.
I was also arrested.
When the whole havoc started i ATTEMPTED to walk away with my hands up, but the police rushed with there sticks and beat everyone, they even held a girl by her hair and threw her, threw me into a fence 3 times. then twisted my wrists and took me to a van, handcuffed me very tightly, for 30 minutes i sat in the van, then they put me in the side of the van, basically a BOX. and talked to me, asked me why i was even detained and i had no answer but IDK.

4 girls, 3 men arrested for "assult" and all 7 of us were comepletly beaten with them having NO EXCUSE.

by in agreemant
Well said Moorlock.
by a-feminist
As much as ANSWER gets on my nerves, I'd rather they stand up to the cops than play nice with them. That aside, to borrow from the frequently quoted phrase about voting, "if protests changed anything, they'd be illegal". Look at the more radical protests - judging by the police response, they teeter on illegality quite literally; all the moreso if the numbers are smaller, which could be a means to reflect a wider and more diverse spread of resistance. (Easily double this equation if the protest is predominately black and brown, or dealing with "black and brown issues" - Palestine, for example.)

All in all, most large-scale mainstream protests are just an excuse for people to donate money and express a vague form of disapproval over the issue in question. It's ambulatory letter writing, for the most part -- easily done, easily ignored. It's a shame, because protests can be an effective organizing tool, when enacted with some modicum of strategic foresight.
by Sam
People have been ragging about ANSWER for sometime now. Especially the right-wing nuts. Now I see so-called "progressives" doing the same thing. There's a solution: If you don't like ANSWER and their methods of organizing a demonstration, no one is stopping **YOU** from organizing a march yourself, not that many people will show up because ANSWER has a lot more credibility/clout/recognition than YOU do. And it's a stupid thing to say that there are a lot of stupid people in one place at these demonstrations. One can not intelligently generalize like that. Have you talked with EVERYONE there to know what they think? I doubt it.

These demonstrations are purely symbolic. They have not stopped any war/occupation nor are they about to. But they are very needed. Even though symbolic they are needed.

The demonstration today was pathetically small as I expected because most so-called "liberals" can't bear to be critical of their messiah Obama. Now if Obama were to switch parties overnight and become an R thousands MORE would be in the streets. But since he's from the "Dem Team" the Obamabots think they can't or shouldn't criticize their lord and savior even when he acts just like George Bush. The hypocrisy of the Dem kool-aid drinkers drives me up the wall.

As far as the scene at the end of ANSWER demonstrations, I could care less what is for sale and who has a table there or whether they are "communist" or not. (The "communist" card and red-baiting is rather outdated). Doesn't make me feel "dirty." That stuff sounds like some right-wing spew that I read on other forums. I thought as progressives/liberals, we were more open-minded than some here seem to be. There seems to be a growing epidemic of closed-mindedness more and more on message forums.

I appreciate all those who demonstrated today and I appreciate that ANSWER organized it (because who else is going to do it?!). Gracias.

by Steve
...There are no pictures of the fairly sizable IWW contingent (about 40-50 members).

I'm sure there are others that weren't photographed either. However it would have provided some counterbalance to the perception that the march was dominated by 4th-internationalists.

I agree with Sam BTW. While ANSWER is far from the ideal vehicle for organizing continuing opposition to the US wars of capitalist imperialism, nor are they the ideal vehicle for building political power (note to anarcho-sectarians: such power needn't be /authoritarian/ power or in the form of a political party). However, in the /absence/ of /anything else/ it comes across as ultra-left posturing to continually criticize ANSWER.

You don't like ANSWER "parades"? Organize something different. If it seems like a viable and practical strategy, I and many others will most likely endorse it and even help promote it.

by an editor
This is Indymedia, be the media.

If you need help learning how to post digital photos, pls email the web's editorial collective. Contact info on Contact page.
by just wondering
Does anyone know anything about the 5 additional arrests at Civic center BART?
by Z
I did take a few pictures of the IWW contingent but they didnt come out great. Added a pic of the banner to the pics above, but here is a pic of the march (too many people in way for it to be a good pic)
by Twan
Yeah and Kron 4 said everything went fine and that there were no arrests. I commented on their bullshit story and I somehow doubt they're going to publish it.
I was there and almost got hit from behind by cops. They were just hitting everything that moved. Girls, older women etc...What a disgrace.
That's one of the pics I captured.
by Cindy Sheehan Media
Copy the code below to embed this movie into a web page:
by Moorlock=shit

You really are confused and you have no understanding of the anti-war movement. This was an anti-war rally - a call for a radical change in US Foreign policy and military intervention in the Central Asia and the Middle East. These ongoing conflicts are a result of the military-industrial complex embodied by the Pentagon and the corporate war profiteers. It is an industry that will never die as long as the US remains a capitalist country. This war machine directly aids Israel in destroying the Palestinians right to self-determination. Brush up on your history and US foreign policy. It will do you good, you whiny, mis-informed punk.
by matt klein
The comments by "Moorlock" tend to show nothing to me but the same old whining criticisims directed toward the most successful democratic coalition in the USA involved in attempting to respond to the lies put forth to support the silly wastefull economic system we are compelled to participate in to put bread on our tables at the cost of democracy around the world.

The actions of ANSWER coalition to respond to the corporate sponsored criminal actions of the US government in financing Isreals continued attempts to wipe out the palastinian population, destroy any legitimate democracy in Iraq and Afganistan, and generaly aid in assisting the concerns that wish to remove any hope of working people around the world of organizing in order to serve the interests of working people are actions of providing information and appeals for common sense.

These are also appeals for personnel action, thats you and me and everyone else getting together to personnely see to it that there is a democracy. (There is not at the present moment)
In order to see that there is democracy the first personnel action is to form a unified body that shares a common interest, thats done by recognizing that common interest and educating your fellows as to what it is, why it is, who or what is standing in the way, and then forming a concern and then a coalition of parties and individuals supporting that concern, to get the information to the public in order to oppose the power that stands to undermine our collective interest.

yeah yeah, we've been doing that as the current anti war, anti poverty, homeless advocacy, workers rights advocates(documented and undocumented-a worker is a worker) anti police/state brutality advocates for quite a few years. We need an issue that is so blatantly senseable to everyone that will enable us to call out to the US public to come forward in favor of so that we will be able use the only real power we have, the withholding of our labor in mass, successfully and do as the 06 international workers day march accross the US did, force legislation in our very common interest. The halting of labor by those undocumented and those sympathetic to their labor rights stopped buisness, stopped hr4437 the sensenbrenner bill which would have halted the growth of the only sector seeing any growth in the organized labor movement, that of organizing
service sector workers.
Think of one issue we can call to people to support with their greatest power stopping the machine, then when we have that attention all other concerns that are working against our common interest can be recognised as coming from the same source.
The most universal immediate issue to the american public is our security.
Health security is the most addressable. By advocating single payer health care we can motivate passage though, we will have to stop the machine to do so. following or, along with that comes housing security,food security- security- security(self determination?)
we will be at the redstone building at 16th and south vanness saturday march 28th at 3 pm. we are the San Francisco May First Organizing Committee.
by clifford
Hey Hanan,

I hope you get to the position of suing the city for the attack on you. When the city starts making payments to people, that's when they wake up to the brutality of those who are supposed to protect and serve. They don't like having to make payments especially as the city is under economic pressure. All the best with your claim. I have asked Tom (who posted the videos on you tube) to upload them to cindy sheehan's youtube page so that we can increase the awareness of what happened. Hopefully we will have them up in the next couple of days. Keep in touch and let us know how you progress,

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