CHICAGO – A throng of at least 600 people gathered on the shores of the Chicago River and marched through the downtown area on Nov. 7, the National Day of Peace Response. The American Friends Service Committee, and scores of other local and national organizations, initiated the day.

The crowd, including people of all ages and many churches and other groups, carried candles and placards denouncing terrorism and the war in Afghanistan and calling for respect for the rights of Arab-Americans and Muslims and for constitutional rights.

Melinda Power, a constitutional rights attorney, explained the USA-Patriot law, and the way that it can be used to suppress legitimate dissent in the United States.

Ali Abunimah, a Palestinian American activist, showed video clips of scenes from the war in Afghanistan, culled from the coverage on the Al-Jazeera network. Scene after scene, showed the damage done to the civilian population of Afghanistan by U.S. bombing.

Particularly shocking were scenes of burning food supply warehouses and of dead children and other civilians. Abunimah said the U.S. media is not showing these scenes, and that we must demand accountability from our media as well as from the government.