National World Can't
Spread the Resistance - Wear Orange Daily
Los Angeles Students Page
Los Angeles Endorsers
March 17th Anti-War Protest in LA
10,000 demonstrators converged at the corner of Hollywood and Vine on a balmy seventy-degree day in Los Angeles, and marched the streets of Hollywood to the sound of drums with a churning determination. The crowd reflected a variety of perspectives, from urging others to achieve inner peace, and running a full spectrum all the way to demanding an end to the war and impeachment, of not just Bush and Cheney, but of the entire regime. “The whole gang!” one man kept calling to the crowd, as they responded with wild shouts of agreement. There were young and old, families with baby strollers, and representatives from Asian, Middle Eastern, Latino, and Chicano groups. There were Democrats, Greens, Teachers, Religious groups and Progressive Democrats.
World Can't Wait was there in full spirited force, with a contingent that was led by orange jumpsuited activists in hoods (to represent Guantanamo detainees), followed by big orange drums beating out a rhythm to the chants that were full voiced and loud. “STOP IRAQ WAR, NO IRAN WAR, IMPEACH! IMPEACH! IMPEACH CHENEY AND BUSH!” Behind them came “the Bush Regime”; huge paper machet heads of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Rice worn by new WCW volunteers with black and white striped prison suits. Other activists would shout...”Look out! Criminals on the loose!” The crowd would hiss and boo, as chanting would switch to “CRIMINALS! CRIMINALS! IMPEACH THE CRIMINALS!”
We got out over 200 placards. People took up stacks of the Call to Drive Out the Bush Regime from us as we pulled a wagon full of them in front of our contingent. 10,000 Calls were distributed throughout the day. At stops during the march, crowds would circle the orange jumpsuited torture victims as another activist with a bullhorn would scream at them to get on their knees and look at the ground, and then indicate which prisoner would be waterboarded, electrically shocked or horribly abused in some other way, by order of the Bush regime. Each time we did this, a number of photographers would kneel or lay in front of the victims and take pictures. We would turn to the crowd and say, “This is what is being done in your name! Torture is now legal! Will you stand silently by, as people are tortured in your name? “ A horrified silence would be replaced by a chant of “HELL NO! NOT IN OUR NAME! and then JOIN US! JOIN US! THE WORLD CAN’T WAIT! DRIVE OUT THE BUSH REGIME”. The victims would stand, the call would be distributed, and the march continued.
Response to the orange jumpsuits was profound. People who had silently watched, would approach us after a scene and tell us that the image was disturbing and unforgettable. Many had not fully understood the implications of the MCA, as well as there were many who did not know that it even existed. They were horrified. We collected donations, as well as distributed many stacks of Calls to folks who now felt charged to take responsibility for spreading the word about this, and the World Can’t Wait call to impeach for crimes against humanity. One woman said that impeachment was not enough, that she felt this criminal regime should spend the rest of their lives in jail.
At our booths, some people made plans for house parties when they bought the Bush Crimes Commission and Voices of Impeachment DVDs, while others talked with Dennis Loo, co-editor of "Impeach the President: The Case against Bush & Cheney".
Martin Sheen marched with Veterans for Peace, carrying one of many coffins representing soldier deaths in Iraq. He spoke out against the troop surge and immorality of this war on the podium later in the day. Ozomatli took the stage after that and performed for the crowd, calling on folks to resist and repudiate the Bush agenda. Jackson Brown took the stage after that with an inspiring version of “Guns of War.”
Near the end of the rally program, our World Can't Wait speaker, Reverend Meri KaRa took the podium with an invigorating and concise message. A torture victim in orange jumpsuit and hood knelt near him on the stage. He spoke of the awakening of students on campus, and of the upcoming student strikes. The crowd cheered. He spoke of the urgency of this moment, and began a chant of the "2008 IS WAY TOO LATE! THE WORLD CAN’T WAIT!" The crowd took up the chant with him. Their interest and energy seemed inspired as Meri Ka Ra urged them to take up this important movement to Drive Out the Bush Regime and Impeach for War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity!
One new member of our World Can't Wait chapter had marched in the orange jumpsuit contingent, as well as distributed calls and took donations throughout the day. She reported to us that she felt so empowered by moral certitude, the march, and the response of the crowd, that she could not bring herself to remove her orange jumpsuit. She rode the metro home and handed out her tall stack of calls, one by one, in full torture victim costume, while the train sped under and through the city.