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GET DOWN WITH RISIN' UP!: Protests across the globe resist war

The tide is turning against the U.S. empire’s plans to tighten its grip on the Middle East. On the weekend of Jan. 18, global protests confronted the building drive of US military conquest of Iraq. From the bustling streets of Tokyo, to the frigid city of Washington D.C., to sunny San Francisco, and the small town of Charlottesville, Va., people stood together with one common demand: “No war on Iraq!”

In Charlottesville, an estimated 1,000 people gathered at city hall during bicentennial commemorations of the Lewis & Clark expedition across the continent, which laid the path for white settlement and pursuit of lands west of the Mississippi. On Saturday, protesters gathered to oppose the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the Middle East. At one point, a small group of demonstrators ventured into the main bicentennial festivities, dropping banners criticizing secretary of the interior Gale Norton, a special guest of the celebration, for her policies towards land management in the U.S., which protesters said were an attack on both public lands and Native American rights.

Many Richmonders traveled to D.C., where more than 200,000 people marched from the capitol to the naval yard in opposition to the potential U.S. invasion of Iraq. The protests started off with a festive convergence at Union Station where anti-capitalists and progressive Muslims held a percussion protest against the registration and detention of immigrants and war on Iraq. (read IMC reporter Luther Blisset’s account). The feeder march made its way over to the mass anti-war rally at the mall where people from all walks of life listened to speakers, shared thoughts and tried to keep warm in below-freezing temperatures.

A diverse display of resistance manifested (read IMC reporter Jen Lawhorne’s account) while a large anarchist contingent amassed and distributed a statement of working class resistance from the Roundhouse Collective of Baltimore. Speakers took the stage to rail against U.S. imperialism and military conquest; among them was Vietnam War Veteran Ron Novick who spoke movingly to the crowd. “This is a great day for America,” Novick said, “I lost three quarters of of my body in Vietnam. You will find strength. You were born to take this country back. No blood for oil!”

The march left the mall and slowly proceeded through the streets of D.C. to the naval yard where it ended with a rally. Resistance didn’t end on Saturday as more than 1,000 people marched on the white house and demanded entrance to Lafayette Park. Dozens were arrested including some Virginians.

Be assured Richmond opposition won’t stop this weekend. Plans are underway for a regional conference during mid-April against war and oppression. The Richmond Women in Black are holding a silent march every Saturday at 1 p.m. on Main and Boulevard . If the US government does declare war, local organizers have planned an emergency response that is coordinated with multitudes of other U.S. cities where opponents to the Bush regime are gathering at their local federal buildings at noon the day after war is declared.


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