Tens of thousands protest in cities throughout California
17 February 2003
More than 100,000 protested in San Francisco on Sunday. The protest took place the day after other protests worldwide so as not to conflict with the traditional Chinese New Year’s parade in the city.
The demonstration represented a cross section of Bay Area residents. Many who spoke to Socialist Equality Party supporters expressed anger towards the Democratic Party for their support for war. “I am not going to vote for any of my representatives,” said a white-collar worker who had brought his family along. “Shame on the Democrats!”
An unemployed business analyst said: “I grew up in the Deep South. I still remember the four little girls that were killed during the civil rights movement. As for the war and the Democrats, how can one elephant neuter and spay so many members of Congress? All my respect for [Democratic California Senator] Dianne Feinstein is gone.”
A member of the Teamsters union said, “The democrats have too much at stake. Even if there is a second congressional vote on the war, the Democrats will support the Republicans, much to my chagrin.”
Protests took place on Saturday in Sacramento and Santa Cruz. Thousands also turned out in San Jose, including high-tech workers and their families.
In Southern California, tens of thousands demonstrated on Saturday in Santa Monica, Long Beach, San Diego and Los Angeles. Rallies also took place in Orange County, a Republican Party stronghold.
The biggest march took place in Los Angeles, where some 50,000 protestors marched through downtown Hollywood. At the Hollywood and Vine metro station, passengers leaving packed subway trains were urged on by train operators: “We don’t need this war,” said one,” keep it peaceful but keep it loud; let everyone know we don’t want this war.”
Leading the march were actors Martin Sheen, Anjelica Houston and Mike Farrell. At a rally concluding the march, Sheen and liberal author Gore Vidal addressed the crowd.
Many of the marchers had created their own placards to accompany the mass-produced ones provided by the organizers. A few that stood out included the following: “Don’t mess with Mesopotamia,” “The war budget leaves all children behind,” “September 11th equals Reichstag Fire” and “Stop mad cowboys disease.”
An SEP team distributed more than 2,000 copies of the WSWS statement “The tasks facing the antiwar movement” and encountered many readers of the World Socialist Web Site.