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200,000 Anti-War Protesters fill Streets of San Francisco – 500,000 protest in Washington, D.C.

19. January 2003

Report from Jan. 18, 2003, by the International Action Center

In the largest anti-war protest since the Vietnam era, 200,000 protesters filled Market Street from Embarcadero St. to Civic Center in San Francisco to say “No War Against Iraq.” It took four hours for the entire march to traverse the 1.7 miles from Justin Herman Plaza to Civic Center.

A national demonstration held in Washington, D.C. drew a half million people. Sponsored by the International A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism) Coalition, the protests were endorsed by thousands of organizations. Similar demonstrations were held in at least 30 other countries.

Jan. 18 was a day of global protest against a U.S. war on Iraq. Simultaneous demonstrations were held in more than 30 countries, including Japan, Ireland, Egypt, Spain, Argentina, South Africa, Jordan, Belgium, Syria, Hong Kong, Russia, Germany and Britain.

“Today`s demonstrations shattered the myth of consensus for war,” said Gloria La Riva of the A.N.S.W.ER. Coalition, who was one of the co-chairs of the Civic Center. “The world spoke with one voice today in denouncing the Bush administration`s rush toward a new conflict.”

In the Bay Area, the crowds were so dense that at BART stations throughout the Bay Area passengers had to wait for up to an hour to board trains. At least 125 buses traveled from as far away as San Diego, Oregon and Utah.

The speakers at the rallies include Congressional Representatives Barbara Lee and Lynn Woolsey; singers Joan Baez and Bonnie Raitt; Judging Amy star Amy Brenneman; actor Martin Sheen; Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farmworkers; Rev. Cecil Williams, of Glide Church; John Burton, president of the California State Senate; Richard Becker, International Action Center and ANSWER National Steering Committee; Matt Gonzalez, president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors; Miguel Molina of KPFA Radio; and Rev. Ted Frazier, of the NAACP.