On Saturday, I went to the ANSWER coalition march on the Pentagon and war profiteers. I met up with some UNCG students at 5 AM (brutal) and got in a van to go to DC. The van was late and it was freezing out there! But we finally got to DC around noon and took the metro to the rally point on the National Mall. It was clear that they expected more people, since they had lots of extra signs. (I hope they can save the signs for the next rally, since this ain’t over!) There were thousands of people there, but it was the smallest rally in DC that I have been to, so far. My favorite sign was:
OK DEMOCRATS NOW STOP THE WAR!
It should be "wars" though.
After the speeches, some protesters picked up fake coffins and we took off on the march. It went over the river and past the Pentagon, into Crystal City. The first stop was Boeing, and then we went to Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics and KBR. We made a stop at each of these merchants of deaths and chanted ‘how many kids did you kill today?’ among other slogans. My favorite is ‘from Iraq to Palestine, occupation is a crime’. They dropped off the fake coffins at each stop.
I talked to a German TV news on the march, and one question they asked is ‘do you think this is doing any good?’. I had to answer ‘no, but elections have not solved these problems either’. I just feel that I have to stand up for what I think is right and speak the truth. I wished I would have thought of Sophie Scholl of the White Rose Society and pointed out to them that what she did was not effective, but she still did what was right. She paid for that with her life, and I surely will never have to pay such a price!
One thing that disturbed me on the march was the group of young African American boys dressed in military fatigues. They were marching with a pro-Palestine group and appeared to be Muslims. I just think it is very, very sad to orient children towards using force as a way to address problems. I think our society is much too militarized already.
After the march, we all meet up at the Metro station and headed back to the vans to go home. Dinner was at the Cracker Barrel, and we got back into Greensboro at 1:30 AM. A very long day, but then DC is quite a distance from my home. I am glad I went. I had some great company too.
Troublemakers at the ANSWER rally
Just as we left the first stop at the war profiteers (Boeing), I noticed these folks who had on bandannas, were dressed mostly in black, and were covering their face. I instantly thought that they were trouble. Half way down the street, they blocked the march with some signs. They also were busting up some sticks, and one stick was about 8 feet long. I picked this up, along with a shorter one, and took them to the building where they were stopped. There was a security person there, so I let him know what I was doing and what I suspected was happening. I also took these photos.
I went and walked away from this area, as the people in the march were doing chants about ‘stand up, sit down’ and making the corresponding movements. As I walked to the next stop at the war profiteers, I spoke to every police officer who looked approachable and let them know what I suspected was happening. A bit later at the next stop, the speaker from ANSWER spoke to say that people who are doing violence or destroying property are not part of ANSWER.
By the way, this rally was far from "all white". In our group of 26, we had five people of color, two of them born in foreign countries.
On the way home, another women who was traveling with us said that she saw a guy with a bandanna on, and dressed in black, throw a hammer at a window and broke it (the hammer fell to the outside of the window). She said there was an old man with a walker on the other side of the window. She looked at the pictures on my camera and could not identify the hammer thrower, but she said he was dressed in a similar manner.
I guess there always has to be someone to disrupt a non-violent protest.
Here are the pictures of the troublemakers at the march.
Next major protest: APRIL 3 and APRIL 4 in NYC.