Protesters oppose to U.S. action on Iraq taking to the streets

By Noble Johns

PORTLAND, Oregon (BNW) —
Reminiscent of the struggles of the 60s and 70s when good Americans took to the streets to stop the war in Vietnam and to fight against racism in the American South, it appears that a new generation of protesters are once again “taking it to the streets.”

Street protest in the 60s and 70s against America’s injustice in Vietnam and at home energized a whole county to stop the killing in Southeast Asia, and to stop the racial injustice in the American South.

Is the need for street protest against our government a thing of the past, or is it long over due? I think it’s long over due! Our country is headed down another war like in Vietnam, and racism in the American South is still alive and well. Let’s take it to the streets!

Streets protest is taking hold all over this country because of the injustices of our nation in the name of the American citizens. Chanting "no more war," an estimated 5,000 people rallied Saturday in downtown Portland, Oregon, against possible U.S. military attacks on Iraq, one of a number of such protests planned across the nation this weekend.

In Texas, the chant by hundreds who flocked to the state Capitol was "No more blood for oil." In Manchester, New Hampshire, about 50 demonstrators protested outside as President Bush stumped for Senate candidate John Sununu.

Bush did not mention the protests but reiterated his stance that the United States must disarm Iraq to protect American lives.

All the rallies were apparently peaceful. Organizers -- their effort centered on a Web site called "Not in Our Name" -- said they hoped to spark protests in at least two dozen cities Saturday and Sunday.

In Portland, first-time protesters joined longtime pacifists for the march. They chanted, banged on drums and clapped their hands. "My co-workers were talking to me about this, and it is something I believe in," said Cris Jackson, an office manager who has never attended a rally before. "Maybe it will spread awareness that not all of America is behind Bush."

She waved her hand over the crowd: "They aren't, and I'm not either."

In Texas, protesters carried signs saying "Free the Press" and "Stop the Bombs." Austin police reported no arrests.

"Yes we are here, and yes we are angry, and yes we will not stop mobilizing," Green Party gubernatorial candidate Rahul Mahajan told the crowd. "We will not stop yelling until this war is avoided."

Across the street, a small group waved American flags in opposition to the protesters.

"I'd rather settle this peacefully, but if war is needed to protect our people, protect our land, then we need to take that action," said David Armstrong, 36, of Austin.

In St. Louis, an anti-war vigil Friday at the office of U.S. Rep. Dick Gephardt, D-Missouri, ended with the arrest of a woman who refused to leave the House minority leader's office when it closed.

Protesters said they intended to resume the vigil Monday, and all good citizens who love this country should take part in this new activism.

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