los angeles

E-mail: worldcantwait_la@yahoo.com
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World Can't Wait protest outside Obama fundraiser in Beverly Hills

30 people gathered at the very busy intersection in Beverly Hills with a 20' orange banner that read "Release the Torture Photos!  Prosecute the War Criminals!  worldcantwait.org".  Orange-jumpsuited "detainees" and people with white masks and orange ponchos saying "No Torture" and "Prosecute War Criminals" stood next to the new large WCW posters across from the Beverly Hilton where Obama spoke at a fundraiser.  Unlike the coverage of our press conference last Thursday at West Hollywood City Hall (next to Beverly Hills), all the local TV news, both English and Spanish-language, covered the protest, as well as several radio stations, AP, UPI, and Getty Photos.

The most openly supportive press were Armenian TV journalists who covered the Armenian protesters demanding that Obama live up to his promise to recognize the Armenian genocide by Turkey.  Up the street, some of us also joined the anti-war and gay rights protesters in front of the hotel entrance.  World Can't Wait unfurled the banner "Silence + Torture = Complicity" and with members of the Revolution Club, got lively bucket drum beats and chanting going (until the police stopped the drumming and bullhorns for violating the noise ordinance!)  There was little foot traffic, but our message was quite controversial among the tons of rush-hour drivers who passed by during our 4-hour demonstration.  Some yelled things like "I support torture!", while others honked their horns in support. 

Several people joined us whom we haven't seen in quite awhile, who were active with us before, but got demoralized, and now felt the need to be out in the streets as their hopes for change with Obama are disintegrating.  A gay marriage supporter gave us a poster he'd made with the iconic Obama image and the word "Fail" at the bottom.  Many of the young Armenian protesters said they had campaigned for Obama, and probably most people out there voted for him.  There are big questions about where are the others who should be standing with us, and who can we rely on.  One person said that he finds Debra Sweet's emails to be among the most insightful as we forge a path of resistance against these continuing crimes against humanity.

Link to stories and videos of the protest


http://www.myfoxla.com/dpp/news/local/Obama_Fundraises_in_Beverly_Hills_20090527 - brief peek at wcw


Antiwar protesters criticize President Obama during visit

6:27 PM | May 27, 2009

About 40 antiwar protesters were holding a peaceful but noisy demonstration near the Beverly Hilton Hotel, where President Obama is holding a fundraiser. They demanded the release of torture photos and the prosecution of Bush-era officials for war crimes.

The demonstrators were beating on drums and chanting, “Obama and Cheney are just the same. They do torture in your name.” A few of the protesters were wearing orange jumpsuits and black hoods over their heads, mimicking the photos of Guantanamo detainees.

Though small, the demonstration was eliciting honks and thumbs-up signs from motorists passing through the intersection of Santa Monica and Wilshire boulevards. The protest, which began about 3:30 p.m., was organized by World Can’t Wait, a group coordinating demonstrations in 15 other cities this week.

“In terms of national security and state policy, Obama and Bush are one in the same," said Dennis Loo, a professor of sociology at Cal Poly Pomona and a member of the national steering committee for World Can’t Wait. “In fact, Obama is extending the war in Afghanistan and into Pakistan. A lot of people feel betrayed because they expected something different from him.”

-- Carla Rivera