Could not authenticate you.followers
On the day the United States military and its allies began operations in Libya to protect citizens and members of the resistance from attacks directed by Moammar Kadafi, thousands of demonstrators marched in Hollywood to call for an end to American military intervention around the world.
Approximately 4,000 people participated in the March 19 demonstration, which was held for the eighth year in Hollywood. Organized by ANSWER L.A, the march also highlighted the need for more funding for education, employment and social service programs in the United States.
“We are observing the eighth anniversary of the War in Iraq, and we are out here to oppose the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, and also to call for no new war in Libya,” said Muna Coobtee, an organizer for ANSWER L.A. “People’s needs are not being met. There is a generation of young people who are facing the prospect of high unemployment and diminishing services. We strongly feel that money that is so sorely needed for basic rights should not be spent on the military budget. Conditions for people in this country are getting worse, and people are getting increasingly disillusioned.”
Demonstrators chanted slogans such as “No Justice, No Peace, We Must Get Out of the Middle East” and “Money for Jobs and Education, Not for War and Occupation” as they marched. The group was led by Ron Kovic, a well-known anti-war activist who was portrayed by actor Tom Cruise in the 1989 film, “Born on the Fourth of July”. Kovic, who is paralyzed from the waist down after being shot in 1968 while fighting in the Vietnam War, said the anti-war message is as pertinent today as it was when he returned from Vietnam 43 years ago.
“I really believe in peace, and believe war is not the answer; that violence, bombs and pulling triggers is not the answer, and that a more peaceful world is possible,” Kovic said. “I know we are a better country than that. I know we can approach our differences around the world in a more peaceful manner. We have to in order to end this cycle of violence.”
Kovic added that he felt like he was amongst “family” with the group of demonstrators, and said he is encouraged that young people are staying involved.
Robert Muñoz, a student at the California State University, Los Angeles, said he felt he needed to demonstrate because the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are dragging on, and he believes a new war is beginning in Libya.
“People around the world are trying to gain their freedom, in Egypt and Libya, but all that means is there will be more fighting and more people getting killed,” Muñoz said. “America shouldn’t be fighting in these wars that never end. If we get involved in a war in Libya, when is it going to end?”
Some of the demonstrators were former members of the U.S. military, including Michael Williams, a former member of the U.S. Army who served in Iraq. Williams said while he believes war is sometimes necessary to defend national interests or help people in foreign countries, he said the current wars are simply about oil.
“Why would we still be in Iraq after we have liberated the people if it is not about oil?” Williams said. “Now were are fighting in Libya, which is the same situation, oil. Thousands of people are getting killed and it never ends. At some point, we need to take a look at what we are doing and stop the fighting.”
The march began at Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street and moved down to Sunset Boulevard before ending with a rally near Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue. At the rally, numerous speakers continued their appeal to end the war. Chris Shiflet, the lead guitarist for the Foo Fighters, addressed the crowd and performed a song. Iraq war veteran and March Forward! co-founder Mike Prysner also called for an end to military intervention.
“Today, we are all making history. We are here to say no to U.S. wars on innocent people abroad and yes to jobs and education right here at home,” Prysner said. “We don’t believe the lies about national security to justify wars. It is, in fact, a national security issue that millions of people are losing their jobs and homes right now. This must end, and it can end if we keep struggling to stop these criminal wars.”
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.