Here is a bird’s-eye view of actions in over 300 cities and towns on March 20 as Americans renewed their simmering opposition to the war and occupation of Iraq and turned their attention to the reeking landfill of lies that led the U.S. into war:

LOS ANGELES – Some 15,000 protesters turned out for the global day of action. Peace coalitions, Latino and neighborhood groups, moms and dads, union members marched down Hollywood Boulevard in a diverse and uplifting demonstration. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) spoke alongside families of soldiers who are serving or have served in Iraq. With a banner and copies of the People’s Weekly World, the Southern California Communist Party also marched and was well received by both onlookers and other demonstrators.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Just one of numerous street corner protests that call on drivers to “honk for peace,” folks held “Jobs not War,” and “Repeal the Patriot Act” signs. The intersection reverberated with the sound of horns.

ROSEBURG, Ore. – In the county seat of southwest Oregon’s Douglas County, which boasts six people per square mile, scores of residents heeded the call from MoveOn.org to mourn the war dead and demonstrate for peace. Dr. Jagan Kaul compared Bush to Lincoln. While Lincoln’s government was “of the people, by the people and for the people, today it is run by liars,” he said.

DENVER – In a city that is home to many military facilities, hundreds rallied and registered voters. James Holzer, a high school student, registered, saying, “The American people have to stand up.”

TUCSON, Ariz. – The overriding message on signs and lips: “Defeat Bush in November.” Five hundred people marched behind a dozen black caskets to De Anza Park, where they joined another 200. Congregants of Tucson’s First Christian Church greeted marchers with water and snacks. Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) pinned the blame for the Iraqi mess on “George Bush’s cowboy diplomacy.” Phoenix, Flagstaff, Prescott and Bisbee also hosted actions.

CRAWFORD, Texas – Capturing the imagination of journalists around the world, exuberant antiwar demonstrators outnumbered the population of Dubya’s adopted hometown (705) as they marched through the one-block downtown area.

Margarita Alvarez, a survivor of the Guatemalan civil war and a leader of United Voices for Immigrants, said in both Spanish and English that the victims of U.S. foreign policy would forever join in solidarity with the peace-loving people of the United States.

Demonstrations were also held in Houston, Austin, the Rio Grande Valley and San Antonio.

WICHITA, Kan. – “Money for jobs and education, not for war and occupation,” chanted scores of peace activists marching through downtown to the main library.

“I’m patriotic and I support our troops,” one protester told the Wichita Eagle, “but George Bush is a liar and I don’t support what he is doing.”

CHICAGO – By trains, buses and automobiles, Midwesterners gathered first for a jam-packed interfaith and labor rally at the Chicago Methodist Temple. Later 5,000-plus marched and rallied at the Federal Plaza. “Remember in November,” urged Rev. Jesse Jackson. Police were out in force in “Robocop” riot gear, intimidating onlookers who may have wanted to join the peaceful demonstration.

MOBILE, Ala. – G. Anthony Dotch is a veteran of Afghanistan, retired after 21 years in the Air Force. He led a unity march that started with dozens and ended up with over 100. “I support our troops over there, but I don’t support this war,” Dotch said. “Just like we trained so hard to put the bomb on the target, our elected officials should train to make peace.”

MIAMI – Haitian Americans, service employee unionists, and Kucinich and Kerry supporters were among the 300-plus people who heard from the mother of Sgt. Camilo Mejia, who has turned himself in to the military police, refusing to return to Iraq. Write to Congress requesting information on his status and calling for humane treatment, she urged in a letter. Mejia has applied for conscientious objector status.

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Braving a pouring rain, 300 people marked the first anniversary of the war in Iraq. A Buffalo school board candidate denounced the administration’s war budget while Buffalo public schools face massive funding shortfalls.

The bird’s-eye view was compiled by Denise Winebrenner-Edwards (dwinebr696@aol.com).
Kelly McConnell, Joe Bernick, Gail Ryall, Gabe Smith and Jim Lane contributed.click here for Spanish text

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