AROUND THE COUNTRY:

A search of newspapers and peace, justice and labor organization websites revealed that events took place in at least 312 cities, towns, townships and communities in over 30 states on March 20, the day after Bush pulled the trigger on Iraq. Americans demonstrated their opposition to the war in countless ways, but vigils were the most common, such as those in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Flint, Mich., and Las Vegas.

Communities also continued to enact peace resolutions as bombs fell on Baghdad. “Cities for Peace” reports that as of March 25, 162 city, county and town councils officially acted opposing the war. Dayton, Ohio, home to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, passed a peace resolution. The industrial counties of Belmont and Lorain, Ohio oppose the Bush War.

So far, three career diplomats have resigned from the State Department. In a statement, Mary Wright, deputy chief of the U.S. Embassy in Mongolia, said, “I strongly believe that going to war now will make the world more dangerous not safe.” She follows John Brown, former cultural attaché in Moscow, and John Brady Kiesling, former political counselor in Athens.

MILWAUKEE, Wisc.: The heartland goes out for peace

Over 2,000 residents were in the streets on the first day of war. The well-organized rally in downtown featured music, numerous speakers and a “die-in” to demonstrate that the war is not a video game.

There were arrests for civil disobedience and Milwaukee police have begun ticketing motorists who “honk for peace.”

There have also been protests in a number of cities around the state, including daily protests at the University of Wisconsin campus in Madison.

PITTSBURGH, Pa.: Steel city says: ‘Support the troops – bring them home’

Thousands of marchers halted rush hour traffic in the shadows of Mellon Bank and US Steel, March 20, the first full day of war. Motorists honked in solidarity and patiently waited for intersections to clear of the rolling demonstration. Stretching for a three full city blocks, residents took over Grant Street without a permit. An army of County police and Federal marshals lined the sidewalks shoulder to shoulder. As the march ended, 122 were arrested including an observer from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Some, including the ACLU observer, appeared before City Magistrate Eugene Zielmanski who issued maximum bail, $1,000, plus $25 in court costs. “Welcome to America,” said the magistrate. “I’m red, white and blue and God Bless America. I’m ultra-conservative.”

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.: Cops use rubber bullets, mace and tear gas on residents

Despite media reports, eyewitnesses and participants say that the hundreds who rallied and marched at the University of New Mexico protesting the launch of the Iraqi War, were organized, peaceful and saddened by actions of the Bush administration.

Local media said that the demonstration blocked an ambulance. That is a lie, say those in the demonstration and those observing. The truth is, the rally parted to let the ambulance enter.

There must have been a need to justify the arrests of peace supporters on the sidewalks; there must have been a reason for the public to understand why cops opened up on the peaceful demonstration with mace and tear gas and how could police explain to the parents of one peace supporter why he was shot at point blank range with a bean bag gun.

By all accounts, the cops, armed and dangerous, were out of control March 20.

DALLAS, Texas: Center of oil country says stop the war

On March 20, hundreds filled the steps outside of Dallas City Hall to pray, protest and stood wondering about the course of the nation.

“All the wisest humans who have ever lived know that war doesn’t work,” said Joe Stokes, a Dallas schoolteacher. “And here we are. At this time in history, I expected something else.”

“We are gathered here with a heavy hearts and great sadness,” said organizer Julie Ryan of the North Texas Coalition for a Just Peace. “We are gathering to show our grief that our country has resorted to violence.”

Hadi Jawad, vice president of the Dallas Peace Center, added, “I have never been more terrified in my life. 9/11 was a day the world changed. Yesterday (when the war began, March 19) the world changed again.”

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.: Hoosiers arrested for sit-in at Senators’ offices

With hundreds of their neighbors, friends and supporters jamming the streets outside March 20, ten ‘Patriots for Peace’ entered the district offices of Sens. Evan Bayh and Richard Lugar “to petition our government for a redress of grievances.” They requested a phone call to the senators to express their opposition to the “illegal, immoral and unjust war.” The staff denied them a phone call and the 10 non-violent residents sat down.

They were met by 17 cops from the city riot squad in full gear and arrested. Behind mounted police, hundreds of voices and honking car horns rose in support of their fellow Hoosiers.

As of March 21, they were still in jail.

National Clips are compiled by
Denise Winebrenner Edwards (dwinebr696@aol.com). Paul Kaczocha, Gary Grass, Babette Grunow, Jim Lane and Emil Shaw contributed to this week’s clips.

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