D.C. protests to expand

Posted 7:46 p.m. March 11

by Marcus Mrowka

(U-WIRE) WASHINGTON – An annual Washington, D.C., protest against economic organizations will expand to draw hundreds of war protesters, organizers announced last week.

An association of more than 200 organizations led by the National Youth and Student Peace Coalition announced plans last week to hold a march to oppose the impacts of the war on terrorism. The march aims to highlight the global and domestic consequences of the war.

The march, scheduled for April 20, will begin with a rally on the southwest side of the Washington Monument and will be followed by a mass movement to the Capitol Building’s front steps, where a second rally will be held.

“This is a historic turning point,” said Maria Ramos, national co-coordinator for the April 20 demonstration. “People from all over the country are headed to Washington to present a vision of a world truly free of terrorism.”

Organizers expect a large turnout and hope to get their messages heard as city officials tackle the issue of security and safety during that weekend with the various demonstrations being held around the city.

Conferences are being held around the country to prepare for the movement, and a large network of transportation and housing options are being created to get students and activists to the District.

Organizers of the anti-war movement have compiled six demands that they want Congress and the Bush administration to meet. These demands include a U.S. foreign policy based upon social and economic justice, not military oppression; government funding for the victims of the 9/11 attacks and the recession; an end to racial profiling and military recruitment targeting youth of color and working class youth; an end to the degrading and secret imprisonment of immigrants; full disclosure of military contracts with universities; and increased funding for non-military-based financial aid for education

“Let us work toward a world beyond war and terrorism,” said Damu Smith, co-coordinator of the event. “Let’s invest in education and health care instead of war, and in our children instead of war.”

The NYSTP’s anti-war movement will be held the same weekend as the Colombia mobilization, a protest against continued U.S. military intervention in Colombia.

The leaders of both protests are cooperating with demonstrators who will be in D.C. to oppose the meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund that will take place that same weekend.

The combination of demonstrations is expected to place a heavy burden on the safety concerns of the D.C. Metro Police and many local business and universities. The MPD would not release an estimated number of protestors and refused to comment on any extra safety precautions that may be in place.

More than 200 groups have joined their support of the movement. Hosting groups include the National Youth and Student Peace Coalition, National Coalition for Peace and Justice, 9-11 Emergency National Network and NYC Labor Against War. Other groups include the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Center for Peace and Humanity, the National Youth Advocacy Coalition and the Communist Party USA.

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