300 San Diegans Rally Against the Wars – Banners Placed on 6 Overpasses

by on March 19, 2011 · 22 comments

in American Empire, Organizing, Peace Movement, Popular, War and Peace

Peace demonstrators march down 6th Avenue towards I-5. (All photos by Frank Gormlie.)

SEE Gallery of Photos Taken at Today’s Peace Rally and Bannering (below)

While most residents of Southern California  tried to figure out if the day was going to bring rain, three hundred San Diegans spent a few hours in Balboa Park rallying against two wars our government is waging – Iraq and Afghanistan.

Starting at noon, the protest included speakers, singers, poets, and the Puppet Insurgency, and at a little after 2 pm, the crowd formed up onto the sidewalk and marched south towards the freeway.

At Elm Street, the crowd broke up, with a group moving to each of the six overpasses on I-5 – 1st Avenue through 6th Avenue -, lining the bridges holding banners, flags, while attaching larger banners to the wires on the overpasses.  Many supportive honks could be heard from the passing traffic below.

Organized by the San Diego Coalition for Peace and Justice – and a host of other groups – the demonstration was held on the 8th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq – and near the 10th anniversary of  our  military involvement in Afghanistan.

We from the OB Rag were there and snapped over 60 shots, and wanted to share fifteen of the best. Here they are:

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Shane Finneran March 20, 2011 at 9:23 am

Thank you for this coverage. I had hoped to make it but ended up having to work, so it’s nice to get a feel for how things went. I think I recognize OB’s Dr. Gordon on the microphone in one of the photos. And good to see the OB Rag banner in effect at another rally!


Sunshine March 20, 2011 at 10:02 am

huge kudos to Rio for her epic musical performance. once again, she excells at “rio-isms”

with a last minute invite I was up, dressed, and marching for peace with fellow peace seekers. the event was well organized, albiet a bit long winded on the speeches before the march. next time, lets get 3000 out there!


Ken March 20, 2011 at 11:56 am

Set aside everything wrong with starting military action against any nation, set aside the realpolitik that protects Bahrain from similar attack ([1] they host a U. S. Naval Base that The Federal gov’t does not want to jeopardize, [2] the Saudis don’t want to see the Khalifa dynasty (sic) removed and [3] the Iran might gain some power by having a shi’ite majority in power in Bahrain). Like I asked before about Afghanistan / Pakistan (as linked to my name in this comment), has the left thought through everything about enforcing the No-Fly Zone and that it will leave Qaddafi free to perpetrate crimes against humanity, violations of the U.N. Bill of Rights, against any other Libyan he chooses?

There are shades of gray in going either way – and protest at the outset of action in Libya doesn’t seem to acknowledge that reality.


Old Hermit Dave March 20, 2011 at 12:52 pm


It is rather amazing how fickle American leaders can be with some of their favorite dictators. Saint Ronnie Reagan bombed Libya killing one of Quaddafi’s KIDS. Then President Cheney welcomed Quaddafi and forgave him for blowing up an American airliner as Condi Rice accepted lavish gifts along with the puppet play president George W Bush. Now the new American president who promised CHANGE is following the Merchant Banker plan and turning on Quaddafi. This kind of stuff seems to prove that if you are a dictator in any country in the world, don’t ever TRUST any American leader because they will turn on you. Remember Saddam Hussein SHOOK HANDS with Donald Rumsfeld, then President Dick Cheney used the power of the mighty American Military to KILL Saddam and hundreds of thousands of his countries citizens.


Danny Morales March 20, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Dear Gentle Reader-The ‘left’ has a thorough understanding of and has thoroughly “thought” out the issues, stategies, and tactics of military intervention within the historical dialectic and the rationale of ‘human rights’ has been worn thin since it’s introduction by Jimmy Carter in the 1970’s. What the ‘left’ hasn’t ‘thought’ out is the extent that agents, assigns and members of the MICC (Military Industrial Congressional Complex) will disassemble in the information age w/its new technologies. To say; “There are shades of gray in going either way – and protest at the outset of action in Libya doesn’t seem to acknowledge that reality.” WTF? Gentle Reader, please don’t make the killing fields a playground for dilletantes. Lead, Follow or Get out of the Way!



Ken March 20, 2011 at 2:22 pm

[1] Feel free to call me Ken rather than address me indirectly with either sarcasm or saccharine propriety as you have with the phrase “Gentle Reader”.
[2] Kindly don’t insult my intelligence inferring that having a sense moral purity/absolutism absolves you from the duty that any responsible citizen has in either supporting or opposing the action in Libya to state that the decision to oppose is made with full knowledge of the carnage that Qaddafi would be free to commit were no action taken to stop Qaddafi and his regime.


Ruth Weston March 20, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Great speech by Gabe Conway.


barbara March 20, 2011 at 3:39 pm

@Ruth. Yes, Gabe was fantastic. I would also like to give huge kudo’s to Kate Beckwith, master San Diego sign maker. She did all the huge freeway signs herself.

Catch up on Libya. The Arab League has turned on Obama. A no fly zone is not the same as bombing the crap out of suspected regime loyalists. I have been listening to NPR and the bombs are raining down on civilinas. So, in order to prevent slaughter, we slaughter. Crazy. Furthermore, Obama needs to ASK CONGRESS before he starts a freakin war!


Danny Morales March 20, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Gentle Readers- Please excuse me if I no longer get involved in ad hominem arguments on the OB Rag. There are those among us who feel a civic obligation to disrupt the internal dialogue of our communities in order to advance the narrow self serving agenda of our governing class. We call them trolls and as Mr. Fresh has observed having a dialogue w/them is akin to mud wrestling a pig. As I indicated above our peoples movements are entering into a phase of organizing that requires a focus on the issues, strategies and tactics within a given moment. To give in to any kind of distraction would not only do a disservice to the struggles of the living but would also dishonor our memory of the dead. Thank you for your understanding.


p.s. as a personal note to ken; what part of NO WAR don’t you get?


Ken March 21, 2011 at 3:59 pm

So to state that you won’t deign to answer my question, Danny, you call me a troll then compare answering me directly to wrestling pigs. I’ve seen a lot of rhetorical maneuvers to avoid entering in to debates based on fallacious arguments – and the handful of ad hominems you string together fit in to that category http://is.gd/eQKTDO Your fallacious arguments are distinct from most I’ve seen in that they are not as vulgar or demeaning and your ideology differs from them.

While you, Danny, may not be worth my time to try and warn away from being too lazy to debate or defend your position, I will warn others on the left that your intellect and your capacity to debate and discuss topics instead of sliding in to demeaning the personalities of those you disagree with is your greatest asset. If you will never completely recover being aghast when G.W. Bush was elected to be POTUS not once, but twice, you may also know that there was a lot of willingness on the part of millions of our fellow citizens to wallow in dumbth to chose Bush to be President if not allow him to become President. That distinguishes you from those who will not think, who won’t take the time to consider conflicting information and recognize that our world is complex and there are many, many shades of grey in choices we make in our lives – those who won’t debate why they deny climate change make a prime example. Operating, open minds can deal with competing and opposing concepts and ideas: they are the people who say climate change is likely a man made phenomena and act to save our planet instead denying volumes of scientific reports that say that it’s happening and giving equal if not more weight to deniers.

Further, mature people should be secure enough in themselves and their positions to admit that they are choosing between two bad options like what ever we’re doing in Libya vs. what happens if we do nothing. It’s an ugly choice to make but it’s something that we have to acknowledge we in the USA are doing because either way people will die violent deaths for some time there. One more time: Libyans will die violently for a matter of weeks no matter what happens, no matter if there is a no-fly zone enforced or not, no matter if Danny and I set aside our differences or not. This time it’s bigger than us and beyond us. At least for those souls who will pass and the friends and family that they will leave behind, they are due dignified treatment as human beings and be given considered answer of a decision we citizens made in the best conscience we can muster if they ask us to account for what we have or have not chosen to do. Stifling debate on important issues like war and peace does nothing to reach that end.


Danny Morales March 22, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Ken- Thanks for sharing your feelings with us. I’m sorry that you choose to take my observations as personal slights, I honestly intended no harm to you or others. I’m not that foolish.That being said, you seem like an otherwise intelligent person. So with all due respect I beg of you to please seek professional help before your impotent anger acts out as something more toxic than disassembling on the OB Rag.

Dan Morales


Frank Gormlie March 21, 2011 at 5:00 pm

The Libyan situation is very complex. After watching and supporting the protesters in Egypt, the protests spread to Libya. We supported the opposition in Cairo, and I even did an all day blog on their protests back when.

The protests in Libya were peaceful at first, but then Kaddahfi bombed and strafed them. Then then turned to weapons. And the Libyan government assaulted them. The opposition even formed a government and asked for assistance – not a land invasion – but air assistance. Our assistance. They did that – they were desperate.

Then finally the Arab League asked for Western intervention, not an invasion, no boots on the ground, but assistance that would allow the opposition rebel forces to have a chance. Look at all the countries that make up the Arab League – there are many. They ousted Libya from their ranks a while ago. The Arab League asked the UN – you know the United Nations – to intervene. And they did.

This is not the same scenario of 2003 where Bush unilaterally invaded and occupied Iraq. This is closer to the Bosnia situation. We have to make distinctions here, and there are many shades of gray. The American peace movement must be mature enough to understand these shades. It is a very dangerous but needed change of events. The Pentagon did not want this. Our corporate elite did not want this.

If it changes drastically, and there are Western troops on the ground in Libya, it all changes. But to ignore the Arab League, the UN, and the Libyan opposition would be worse.


barbara March 21, 2011 at 6:03 pm

It’s even more complicated than that as the Arab League has withdrawn support for these bombardments as many civilians are being killed. It is so reminiscent of Vietnam, we must destroy the village in order to save it.



Frank Gormlie March 21, 2011 at 8:39 pm

Actually, no the Arab League has not, and in fact reiterated their support for the no-fly zone. Plus, there has been no independent verification of any civilian deaths, except of course, those killed by Kadhdafi’s forces. We cannot believe anything coming out of Tripoli and we have to hold our own government to what the UN mandate and Arab League requests state.


barbara March 21, 2011 at 8:44 pm

This is what I read in WAPO


Frank Gormlie March 21, 2011 at 8:56 pm

barbara, I know, I saw that. It’s old news, however, from Sunday. In this fast-moving situation, the Arab League took back any of those statements, and today re-acknowledged their support of the n0-fly-zone. And Obama was involved in having them clarify these reports from the weekend.

BTW, please don’t place links in the front end of a comment, it screws up the entire chatter box.


Frank Gormlie March 21, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Tonight 3-21-11: Abdul Kerim, a member of the rebel National Council in Benghazi, tells the BBC that people there view the international action positively. “Everybody believes now that the United Nations resolution to protect civilians has been acted in a perfect way in Benghazi and everybody is looking now to do the same for Misrata and Zintan. Yesterday a lot of people contacted by telephone calls – different sides – begging United Nations to do the same protection for Misrata and Zintan.”


Oli March 22, 2011 at 2:50 pm

Why this “gentle reader” sounds just like my PSCI professor!


Oli March 22, 2011 at 2:51 pm

It’s actually kinda scary


Oli March 22, 2011 at 3:15 pm

History will show the United States ethos has consistently rendered the kind of self-aggrandizement that leads to military intervention in nearly every aspect of every conceivable nation on this planet. The fact that the American public will buy into any sort of ill-conceived rhetoric about our position as this god-awesome altruistic hero for democracy is a testament to our collective ignorance on the matter. Yes, I do acknowledge that the regimes in the middle east are repressive as they are repulsive and that the region is in desperate need for democracy but it should not be the United States to mediate the conflict. The Arab revolution belongs in the hands of the Arab people. It is irresponsible and furthermore malicious of the United States government to capitalize on the struggles of the oppressed and to exploit the injustices of other nation states for geopolitical dominance.


Danny Morales March 22, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Oli- OK, I’ll drop the ‘gentle readers’ thing. But it sure was fun while it lasted if you look at the response above. – Danny


Oli March 25, 2011 at 11:14 am

I was talking about Ken btw


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