Focus of D.C. protests turns to peace

· Sep 27, 2001 Tweet

In response to the possibility of war, UW Greens, a group of local non-partisan students and some Madison residents will attend a peace rally this weekend in Washington, D.C. The trip, organized by UW-Madison student organization Mad at the Bank, will travel by two chartered buses for approximately 100 participants.
Mad at the Bank official Gene Marshall said the trip’s initial intent was to protest the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Washington, but the objective changed when terrorists attacked and war became probable.

“When we saw the president’s response, we realized that there is something more important to address right now,” Marshall said. “We decided it’s time to try and refocus on peace.”

Marshall said the group will focus on opposing war, ending racist backlash and protecting civil liberties. He said members hope to send the message that war is not a solution.

“Of course, we condemn the horrific killings from Sept. 11, but we don’t believe that the loss of more innocent lives can make up for the deaths of innocents that have already occurred,” he said. “We don’t think that justice can be delivered at the tip of a missile.”

The group will be participating in a rally and march sponsored by the newly formed anti-war and anti-racist coalition, International Act Now to Stop War & End Racism (ANSWER).

Headed by the International Action Center, the coalition is composed of an extensive list of human rights and peace activists as well as members of religious and student groups. Coalition co-signers for ANSWER include former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark and historian Howard Zinn.
Clark, founder of the IAC, hopes the rally can rouse people to take a stance against the Bush administration’s policy in pursuing war.

“The current administration is taking advantage of the sentiment of the people to ram through, with virtually no discussion, a new foreign policy that can only lead to catastrophe,” Clark said in a statement. “Let’s remember the lesson of Vietnam. It’s time to have the courage and wisdom to not repeat this mistaken policy, which will lead to tragedy and endless suffering.”
IAC co-director Brian Becker said he is encouraged by the response to the call for a national protest.

“No demonstration of this size and magnitude took place at the beginning of the Vietnam War,” Becker said in a statement. “In fact, the war had dragged on for a couple of years before a demonstration of the size we are projecting for Sept. 29 took place.”

Expecting thousands of participants, the group obtained permits last Wednesday for a rally at Lafayette Park and on the sidewalk in front of the White House, but the location has been changed after the Secret Service and National Parks Service revoked the permits. The revocation was made due to security for political purposes, according to a report from the Secret Service.

A revised itinerary will include a rally at Freedom Plaza followed by a march to the Justice Department and the Navy Memorial. It will conclude with a rally in Upper Senate Park across from the Capitol building.

In the past, violence has erupted at protests similar to the rally this weekend, making police fear unruly crowds.

However, organizers maintain this will be a peaceful and lawful rally and that violence is neither endorsed nor anticipated.


This article was published Sep 27, 2001 at 12:00 am and last updated Sep 27, 2001 at 12:00 am


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