TUCSON – “This kind of movement can lead the way to world peace,” thundered local Jobs with Justice leader Steve Valencia to equally loud applause from the hundreds of people gathered at Catalina Park here.

Valencia was speaking to an April 20 rally for Peace and Justice in solidarity with the over 100,000 marchers gathered in Washington D.C. The rally followed a spirited two-mile march by over 200 protesters angered by the Bush administration’s threat of endless war abroad and attacks on our living conditions at home.

Marchers chanted anti-war slogans and carried signs calling for peace, justice for the Palestinian people and for the funding of social programs instead of wars and weapons.

People came out of shops and coffee houses to express their solidarity, and several youths joined the marchers. Along Tucson’s busy Speedway Blvd. car horns honked in support.

Back at the park they were greeted by a waiting crowd and a peace song by local folksinger Ted Warmbrand. Speakers at the rally also included Claudia Elquist, a national executive member of the National Organization for Women, high school activist Adrian Manriquez, Mohyeddin Abdulaziz, of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, and Jon Miles, from Veterans for Peace.

Abdulaziz said, “this is a rally against war, racism, destruction and starvation, sanctions, occupation and all sorts of crimes against humanity.”

Abdulaziz called for the enforcement of U.N. resolutions that direct Israel to withdraw from all territories occupied in 1967. He criticized the U.S. administration for its continuing support for Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people.

The march and rally was called by the Tucson Peace Action Coalition and was supported by 23 Southern Arizona peace, social justice and labor organizations.

The author can be reached at stelnik@webtv.net