An estimated two hundred thousand people from across the country converged in Washington, DC on Saturday in a spirited rally that was hailed as the largest antiwar protest since the US invasion in 2003 demanding that the new Congress take strong action against the past and present policies of the Bush administration.
Speakers, which comprised of half dozen members of Congress including John Conyers (Democrat, Michigan), Maxine Waters (Democrat, California) and actors Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon, Jane Fonda, Tim Robbins and Danny Glover, were united in their rejection of the administration’s claims that more aggressive action in the Middle East will lead to peace or security. On a stage where a coffin covered with a U.S. flag and a pair of military boots symbolized those perished in the war, the most moving words were delivered by a mother whose son is serving and a father whose son was lost in Iraq.
A similar protest in San Francisco, strongly condemned a possible attack on Iran. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) addressed the crowd saying “This isn't about just challenging the war in Iraq,” he added. “It's about challenging the idea that war is a legitimate instrument of policy. With the president ramping up for a war against Iran, it just becomes so urgent that in the city of St. Francis, we all become channels of peace.”
Despite the mainly “Out of Iraq” theme of the protest, a sizable and vocal group including members of CASMII from New York, Virginia, Maryland, DC and elsewhere joined by groups under the banner of the Virginia Anti-War Network, NIAC, the American Iranian Friendship Council, and the Fellowship of Reconciliation focused on the prospects of war against Iran.
Signs reading “Don't Iraq Iran”, “Stop the War on Iran Before it Starts”, “Hands off Iran”, and “Ignorance, not Iran is the Enemy” were meant to draw attention to the fact that Iran is now clearly in the Bush Regime’s cross hairs.
CASMII sincerely thanks those in the expatriate community that answered the call to action and rallied to Iran's cause yesterday. Out of a crowd of 200 Iranian Americans who joined this march yesterday, dozens had never participated in any antiwar protests before. We hope this is a historic beginning of a pro-peace and anti-war faction in our community.
WASHINTON DC RALLY
Daniel M Pourkesali is a member of the Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran. This article was originally published in CampaignIran.org.