ALERT: March 19th: We will be providing continuous updates of protests nation-wide today – click on home page above
Activists gear up for March 19th protests while corporate media gear up to ignore those very protests
This continues to be a most curious week: antiwar protests of the 5th anniversary of the US invasion and occupation of Iraq are being mounted throughout the week, while the mainstream media continue its black-out of antiwar protests.
So, on one hand, in Maryland you had Iraqi veterans pouring their hearts & guts out at the Winter Soldier conference, trying to explain to America what they went through and what they put the Iraqi people through. But their stories weren’t being told by the American mainstream press. And you had up to 50,000 people marching and rallying in London against the war, up to 10,000 in Los Angeles, 12,000 marching in rain in Portland, hundreds trying to block the Chevron refinery in Richmond. But on the other hand, the American media continue their black-out of antiwar protests.
This trait of the mainstream – or corporate media – to simply ignore protests against the Iraqi incursion, has been highlighted by us, as in my post last November, commenting on the media blackout of the last national day of protest, October 27, 2007. I had recounted how a Christian Science Monitor reporter concluded that “major news outlets treated this ‘National Day of Action’ as though it did not exist.”
Last Saturday, March 15th, while up to a 1000 rallied here in San Diego, upwards of 50,000 marched in London against the US and their own government’s involvement. Our famous Union-Tribune does not report it. Puts our demo on page 3 of the local news.
ACTIONS AROUND CALIFORNIA
A number of demonstrations were held over the past weekend across the Golden State, with many activists in these cities gearing up for protests planned for Wednesday, March 19th. Here’s what I could find:
RICHMOND, CA. On Saturday, March 15th, a thousand people rallied in Richmond, California, in an antiwar demonstration and specifically targeted the Chevron refinery in the town. Once the speakers – including the mayor of Richmond – were through, the crowd marched to the refinery. 75 protesters sat down and blocked the refinery’s entrance. By nightfall, 24 people still refused to budge, and were arrested. All were released within a few hours. (For more info & photos, a Bay Area activist webpage has them, go here.)
LOS ANGELES, CA. On Saturday, a large crowd rallied in front of the CNN building on Sunset Blvd. Organizers estimated there were 10,000 protesters while police said 2,000.
FRESNO, CA. Several hundred demonstrators rallied in downtown Fresno, with dozens performing a “die-in”, also on March 15.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA. On Sunday, March 16th, 500 people gathered at a peace vigil, then turned out for a march. This was the first of a number of events to be held during the week.
OTHER ACTIONS ACROSS THE COUNTRY
ATLANTA, GA. On Monday, March 17th, ten “Grandmothers for Peace” within the ages of 57 to 80 were arrested attempting to enlist in the US Army.[For their story, go here.]
PORTLAND, OR. On Saturday, the 15th, 12,000 brave souls paraded in the rain in downtown Portland.
MINNEAPOLIS, MN. Up to 1800 demonstrators turned out to protest the war and occupation, also on Saturday.
COLUMBIA, MO. On the 15th, more than a thousand gathered at the county court house for a rally, and then marched to “Peace Park.”
GRAND RAPIDS, MI. About 400 marched through downtown on March 15th, led by Activate, the Grand Rapids Students for a Democratic Society. With no permit, the protesters attempted to march in the street, but were continually prodded by police to get back on the sidewalk. 2 were arrested for obstructing a roadway after they had refused to leave the street.
Iraq Veterans & Winter Soldier
For Iraq Veterans Against the War, go here to see their website, listen to Winter Soldier testimony that ended Sunday. Very little mainstream press picked up the testimonies.
MARCH 19TH ACTIONS APPROACH
Many cities are preparing to hold demonstrations commemorating the 5th anniversary on Wednesday, the 19th. Berkeley and San Francisco, California, Pittsburgh, Chicago, New York City, and of course Washington, D.C., will all see varying protests – many of them militant, several involving civil disobedience.
SAN DIEGO ON MARCH 19TH
MoveOn is holding a vigil at 7:00 pm at the corner of 6th & Laurel in Balboa Park.