MEDIA COVERAGE OF APRIL 20, 2002, DEMONSTRATIONS AGAINST WAR AND RACISM|
2002-04-22, 8:23 p.m.
MEDIA COVERAGE OF APRIL 20, 2002, DEMONSTRATIONS AGAINST WAR AND RACISM
From: Middle East Takes Center Stage at D.C. Rallies/Bicyclists Arrested Yesterday Are Released
By Neely Tucker
Saturday, April 20, 2002
Thousands of activists rallying for a host of causes mingled easily with tourists along the mall this afternoon as chants of "Free, Free Palestine," "Stop the Occupation Now" and "We are all Palestinians Today" filled the Ellipse and the black, red, white and green flag of Palestine waved through the streets of the District.
District police officials said the crowds were larger than they had anticipated, and put their numbers at about 75,000. Organizers of a Palestinian-rights rally at the Ellipse south of the White House said the gathering was the largest demonstration for Palestine in U.S. history.
Thousands of activists began arriving in the early hours of Saturday. They came from across the East Coast, disembarking from a caravan of buses this morning, groggy from the overnight bus ride but already chanting "Stop the U.S./Israeli War!" "We would have brought more people, but it seemed every bus on East Coast was already reserved," said Steve Gillis, 43, a steelworker from Boston. "We saw hundreds of buses on the road. The rest stops were jammed all the way down."
From: Demonstrators Rally to Palestinian Cause /Arab Americans, Supporters Drown Out Other Issues
By Manny Fernandez
Sunday, April 21, 2002
Tens of thousands converged on downtown Washington yesterday to demonstrate for a variety of causes, but it was the numbers and passion of busloads of Arab Americans and their supporters that dominated the streets.
Eager to make their presence felt and their voices heard in the nation's capital as never before, Arab and Muslim families marched and chanted for an end to U.S. military aid to Israel, overwhelming the messages of those with other causes in a peaceful day of downtown rallies and marches.
District police officials said the crowds were larger than they had anticipated and put the number at about 75,000. Metro transit officials said ridership increased significantly yesterday, but estimates would not be available until today. Organizers of the Palestinian-rights rally at the Ellipse said the gathering was the largest demonstration for Palestine in U.S. history.
"We are here because we want to do something, to send a message," said Amal K. David, a Palestinian American who weathered a 12-hour trip in a 21-bus caravan from the Detroit area to join the rally organized by International Answer, an antiwar, anti-racism coalition that shifted the theme of its protest as the violence in the Middle East escalated. In tears, David spoke of the destruction that U.S.-financed Israeli weapons and tanks have done to Palestinians, saying: "My beloved country is financing such death and destruction. I am so ashamed."
From lead story in the Sunday, April 21st San Francisco Chronicle newpaper
In one of the largest Bay Area protests in recent years, at least 20, 000 people marched through San Francisco yesterday in opposition to U.S. policy in the Mideast, transforming 2 miles of city streets into a sea of red, green, black and white Palestinian flags.
The demonstration was billed as a march against "the real axis of evil: war, racism, poverty," but one cause overwhelmed all others: support for the Palestinian cause.
The four-hour protest, which began at noon in the Mission District and ended at City Hall, caused widespread gridlock and prompted the Highway Patrol to close the Fell Street Central Freeway off-ramp for 45 minutes.
"It's one of the biggest protests in the past five years," San Francisco police Cmdr. Greg Suhr said. "It's not often that you see one where a crowd has formed in Civic Center but there are still people in Dolores Park who haven't started marching."
Osha Neumann, a longtime peace activist from Berkeley and veteran of protests since the 1960s, said that for decades the Palestinian cause divided many Bay Area Jewish liberals and leftists who did not want to oppose Israel.
"Twenty years ago I was with a group of Jews protesting at the Israeli Embassy, and it was lonely," said Neumann. "I am happy that Jews especially and the other progressives are no longer blind to oppression by the Israelis."
Chronicle staff writers Tyche Hendricks and Jason B. Johnson contributed to this report.
From: Causes Merge to Support Palestinians Protest: Tens of thousands gather in the nation's capital, with attention focused on the Middle East conflict. LA TIMES
By MEGAN GARVEY and BOB DROGIN
Myriad protest causes developed into a massive and peaceful show of support for the Palestinian people Saturday, as tens of thousands of demonstrators jammed Washington's downtown streets to criticize the Bush administration's Middle East policy. Scores of Palestinian flags waved above the crowd, and many marchers--representing a range of races, religions and ages--wore stickers proclaiming: "We are all Palestinians."
Chris Zbrozek, 18, who came to the rally from Sterling Heights, Mich., with his father, said the pro-Palestinian cause was aligned with the antiwar sentiment. "The Israelis say their justification for their massacres is that they're fighting terrorism. It's the exact same justification we use in Afghanistan, that we're going to use against Iraq."
Daniel Zbrozek, 49, who was attending his first such demonstration, said, "It only causes more terrorism. And it only endangers more Americans."
Tariq Ali, a Pakistani playwright, was among the speakers addressing the pro-Palestinian rally. He told his listeners that the "rogues are in the White House and the rogue state is Israel."
"The real problem in the world is state terrorism," Ali said. "And the people who organize that terrorism are in Tel Aviv and their backers are in the White House."
From: Thousands protest for Palestinians: PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER
By Chris Gray and Jodi Enda
WASHINGTON - Carrying Palestinian flags and waving protest signs, thousands of demonstrators marched from the White House to the Capitol yesterday to show support for the Palestinian people.
Busloads of Philadelphia-area residents, including more than 300 Muslims affiliated with the Al-Aqsa Islamic Society, joined the rally.
Aboard one of those buses, Hannah Darwish said she checks the lists of Palestinian dead every day, praying that she won't read a familiar name.
Most of the 42-year-old immigrant's relatives, including a daughter and grandchild, her parents and sisters, live in Ramallah, not far from the compound where Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat remains confined. The uncertainty of their daily existence fills Darwish, who moved to Philadelphia more than 25 years ago, with anger and dread.
In Ramallah, "every time a helicopter passes by, they think it's going to start shelling," she said. "Everybody has curfew. The kids - they have no school. You go to school, you'll be dead."
Demonstrators from around the country stood on the Ellipse behind the White House and demanded that President Bush and Congress stop supporting Israel with money and political clout.
The pro-Palestinian marchers gained the support of demonstrators from at least three other rallies protesting such issues as globalization and destruction of the environment. Police estimated that between 40,000 and 60,000 people participated.
"Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation." - Martin Luther King, Jr.