Depending on the source, 300 people attended an antiwar rally today in downtown Grand Rapids. It was good to see people visibly opposing the war and occupation, hopefully this event is only the start of renewed resistance–let’s build from this event and use the momentum for planning future actions. Consult the Progressive Directory calendar for upcoming events in the area.
Protests occurred in hundreds of cities around the world. Indymedia.org has a new feature on March 20 while the IMC Germany has a running list of demonstrations with reports and numbers: up to 2 million in Rome, 100,000+ in London, 100,000 in New York City, 20,000 in Portland, and many more.
Independent Coverage of Grand Rapids Event:
- Media Mouse Photos
- Media Mouse Article
- Account from the WMJPC Blog
- Two Birds with one Stone – Freeping Down the Osamahuggers
Post your own Account:
The Michigan Independent Media Center features an “open-publishing newswire” that allows anyone to post articles and photographs online providing a much needed alternative to the corporate press. In light of the dismal media coverage of today’s rally, it’s probably a good idea. Let us know if you post something and we will add a link to it.
Other Events in Michigan:
Ann Arbor – 2,500 people attended a rally and march.
MichiganIMC Coverage: Photos
Holland – The corporate media reports 40 people attended a rally at Centennial Park.
Lake Orion – The Michigan IMC is reporting that a person riding their bike with a “Honk 4 Peace” sign was arrested for disrupting traffic. (source)
Lansing – 300 people attended an antiwar rally at the capitol featuring a variety of speakers.
Also worth noting is Direct Action’s ongoing organizing against military recruiting at Lansing area high schools. The group has distributed a few hundred copies of “Through the Wire” a newsletter designed to educate and encourage resistance to military recruitment and war.
Traverse City – 200 people attended a “reality tour” addressing the occupation and cuts to social services.
MichiganIMC Coverage: 200 March in Traverse City
White Lake – 130-150 people came out for a rally featuring speakers and musicians.
In addition to events in Michigan, we would like to draw attention to the following actions that attempt to move beyond the symbolic and directly affect the capacity to wage war:
San Francisco – On March 19, activists engaged in a variety of direct actions against the occupation of Iraq. Activists blockaded Bechtel’s headquarters, as Bechtel has a long history of war profiteering. Another group took over an abandoned building to draw attention to San Francisco’s housing shortage and money spent on the Iraq war which could be used to provide housing for the city’s homeless population.
On March 20 there was a mass protest with an estimated 30,000 people in attendance along with a “breakaway” march that disrupted business in a major shopping district based on the theory that war is simultaneously a product and sustainer of capitalism. As would be expected, the police showed that they are agents of the state and protected commerce by arresting and beating protestors (reports/photos: 1, 2).
Pittsburgh – In addition to an permitted rally attended by a couple thousand protestors, the day had a direct action component with the occupation of two buildings on Carnegie Melon University’s campus to draw attention to CMU’s contracts with the Department of Defense. As of this writing, one occupation has ended while the other is ongoing. The occupiers have issued a list of demands calling for an end to known military contracts, full disclosure of contracts, and the redirection of university research to humanitarian needs.
Bay Area and Oregon – Locals affiliated with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union refused to unload ships today, effectively shutting down ports as a statement of solidarity with protests around the world against the occupation of Iraq (source).
Yorkshire, England – Activists blockaded the United States’ Menwith Hill military base, successfully preventing access to workers. Also in England: two protestors unfurled a banner on “Big Ben” in London (source).