portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article

corporate dominance | imperialism & war

15,000 march in San Francisco

An estimated 15,000 people rallied in San Francisco today on behalf of the Palestinian people and in solidarity with the anti-war protests in Washington, DC, this weekend.
From the San Francisco Indymedia Website:

15,000 March in SF on A20
by Sophia Delaney/ SF IMC Saturday April 20, 2002 at 06:35 PM


An estimated 15,000 people rallied in San Francisco today on behalf of the Palestinian people and in solidarity with the anti-war protests in Washington, DC, this weekend.

April 20, San Francisco-- By 10:45, there was 3,000 of them.

By one p.m., it would be more like 15,000.

In the largest demonstration in San Francisco's recent memory, pro-Palestinian and anti-war activists marched through the city, demanding an end to US and international imperialism and militarism-- particularly when concerning the war in Afghanistan and the fate of the Palestinian people.

The march, which started in Dolores Park, was organized by International Action Center and a host of other activist groups, began with a long and diverse list of speakers.

Jeff Patterson, a veteran of the Armed Forces who was discharged for refusing to go to Iraq, told the crowd that he was motivated to protest his deployment by a racist speech: "Our commander said that if anything went wrong [during the war in Iraq], they would 'pull out the silver bullet and nuke the ragheads.'" He urged the crowd to support the refuseniks (Israeli soldiers who are refusing active duty in the Occupied Territories of Palestine). A loud cheer met his appeal.

A Palestinian woman later took the stage to proclaim, "Our struggle is not a religious struggle... our struggle is to create a land where people can live without racism." Yet another speaker pointed her finger squarely at George Bush as complicit in the Israeli occupation of Palestine, saying, "I feel like every time Bush accuses someone of something, he's talking about himself." Her statement echoed the sentiment of many of the signs and banners held by members of the crowd.

Chanting "Free! Free Palestine!", the racially diverse crowd marched to the Civic Center, where their numbers filled the plaza and the streets beyond. Among the crowd were a large contigent of Palestinians, including a group carrying two people lying on stretchers in symbolic mourning for the dead in Jenin, where and IDF invasion recently took a large number of lives, and others who have died in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Police remained nearly invisible, except when guarding a small pro-Israel counter-protest that had been ushered by cops into City Hall in order to avoid confrontation between them and the crowd.

The protest remained peaceful throughout, and at times was festive, as when a bicycle rigged to haul a speaker system blasted dance music to a street corner full of dancing youth.

The demonstration was in solidarity with the protests in Washington, D.C., this weekend, where over 60,000 people gathered to protest the war in Afghanistan, the occupation of Palestine, and the IMF/World Bank meeting.

homepage: homepage: http://www.sf.indymedia.org