Marchers in New York Decry War in Iraq
DON GONYEA, host:
In the days, weeks, and months immediately following the invasion of Iraq, the U.S.-led military action enjoyed broad support with the American public. As the insurgency has expanded and persisted, and as the death toll among Americans and Iraqis has grown into the thousands and tens of thousands, popular support for the war among Americans has waned significantly.
In New York yesterday, anti-war protestors took to the streets to demand an end to the war. Julie Walker of member station WNYC was at the demonstration and sent this report.
(Soundbite of demonstrators)
JULIE WALKER reporting:
Some were young, others were old. They came from various backgrounds, all demanding the same thing: that the administration stop the war in Iraq, bring the troops home immediately, and stay out of Iran.
Marchers made their way down Broadway from 23rd Street to Federal Plaza. They carried signs denouncing President Bush, and criticizing the war. Some also carried pictures of soldiers killed in Iraq. Among them, Cindy Sheehan, who lost her son. She led a month-long protest at President Bush's Texas ranch last August.
Ms. CINDY SHEEHAN (Anti-War Activist): I see a change in this country. People are against this war, they're against George Bush and they want a change, and they're willing to come out and work for it.
WALKER: There were other parents there who had lost children in Iraq. Carlo Sanandando(ph) is the father of Lance Corporal Alex Sanandando. He carried his son's boots as he made the two-mile march.
Mr. CARLO SANANDANDO (Protestor): He was number 968 killed in Iraq. He served two tours in Iraq. He was 20 years old and 20 days when he got killed in Najaf.
WALKER: One group of protestors here has been speaking out for months. It's the so-called Granny Brigade. Eighteen of these grandmothers were arrested last fall at a military recruiting station in Times Square. Among them was 76-year-old Betty Brazel(ph), who was pushed along Broadway in a wheelchair.
Ms. BETTY BRAZEL (Protestor): I think this is the most amazing trip that I could ever go on. Some of us couldn't walk, so they pushed us, and it's been a little bumpy.
WALKER: Another senior citizen there was 82-year-old Ed Block(ph). He also made the trip from Albany, and is a member of Veterans for Peace. Block was a rifle platoon leader with the First Marine Division during World War II. He was wearing his old uniform as he marched at a slow pace down Broadway, alongside veterans from other wars.
Mr. ED BLOCK (Protestor): We're very, very dedicated to doing whatever has to be done to end this crazy imperialist nonsense.
WALKER: United for Peace and Justice, one of the organizations behind the event, is planning its next move. Organizer Judith LeBlanc says the march is a good way to send a message to lawmakers.
Ms. JUDITH LeBLANC (Organizer, United for Peace): We wanted to bring people together today to say we're marching today, but we're voting in November. The whole backdrop of this very broad coalition of different movements was to energize the people at the grass roots to turn the country around.
WALKER: Jesse Jackson's Rainbow Push Coalition and the National Organization for Women were also among the nine groups that organized the march. For NPR News, I'm Julie Walker in New York.
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