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
Link to stories and videos of the protest
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