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2901Peace Demonstration IN LA

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  • Islamic News and Information Network
    Oct 5 3:12 PM

      Peace Demonstration In LA

      by Susan Schwartz (e-mail SUECOCNEWS@... )

      October 5, 2001

      More than 2,500 people demonstrated in front of the Federal Building in
      Los Angeles on Saturday with a scant three days notice, surpassing the
      expectations of even its most optimistic organizers. The rally was in
      support of peace and justice and demanded an end to hate crimes and what
      appears to be a drive by the Bush administration to mount an irrational large
      scale war against Islam.

      The event was jointly sponsored by the Arab American Anti-Discrimination
      Committee (ADC); the International Action Center (IAC), and The Coalition for
      World Peace.

      Many demonstrators faced Wilshire Boulevard, a main thoroughfare in Los
      Angeles. The waves and honks they received from passing motorists indicated
      a grass roots support not immediately obvious from scanning the major media
      About half of the demonstrators began to march along the road leading to the
      campus of UCLA. When they returned some thirty minutes later, it was
      apparent that they had been joined by students there.

      Giant banners in the vanguard of the marchers were held aloft by at
      least five people each and read: "Stop the War! Defend our Civil
      Liberties!"; "Act Now to end Racist War! End Racism"; and "Solidarity with
      Arab-Americans. Stop Attacks on Muslims".

      Welcoming the marchers, the demonstrators who remained at the Federal
      Building chanted: "One, two, three, four, we don't want your racist war;
      five, six , seven, eight, stop the violence, stop the hate!"

      Speakers included John Parker from one of the sponsoring
      organizations, IAC. He spoke of his recent trip to Iraq which provided him
      with an on site view of the destruction of innocents as a result of United
      States sanctions. He warned of a bigger war should indiscriminate bombing
      take place as retribution for the attacks of September 11th.

      Michel Shehadeh of the ADC, another sponsoring group, demanded no
      more killing of innocents. He said that we will not tolerate a loss of civil
      liberties nor will we tolerate the view that terrorism is an inherent part of
      Arab/Muslim culture.

      Theresa Bonpane of the Office of the Americas warned the crowd
      that justice and revenge are not synonymous.

      Jim Lafferty of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) said that what
      the Bush administration wants is to kill more innocents. We must say a
      resounding "no" to hate crimes and to war.

      Speakers reminded the crowd that this was the one year
      anniversary of the second Intifada and that we must have solidarity with the
      Palestinian people in their valiant struggle against America's step-child,

      The crowd was an eglectic mixture of races, religions and ages.
      When interviewed as to their reason for taking part, the responses were
      strikingly similar. "We can't have a war that will target innocents";
      "Bush's inflammatory rhetoric has given the green light to hate mongers".
      "We must never give up our civil liberties".

      During the rally an announcement was made. Should the United
      States engage in bombing, a protest will be held in front of the Federal
      Building at five PM PDT on the day of the bombing. Should the bombing be
      announced after five PM PDT, the demonstration will be held at Five PM PDT
      the following day.

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      "First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out because I was
      not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not
      speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the
      Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for
      me, and there was no one left to speak for me." - Pastor Martin Niemoller
      regarding the Nazi reign.