New York City’s Biggest Anti-War March in Years

04/12/2011 1:41 PM |

Ten thousand people rallied for peace in Union Square on Saturday. The event, organized by the United National Antiwar Committee, was billed as a “Bring The Troops Home Now” rally, a stand in solidarity against unjust wars and lax government spending. Others were there to support and draw attention to Muslim rights, free speech, union workers, and better education for children.

Organizers have said that the attacks in Libya and renewed Israeli attacks on Gaza—as well as the ongoing problems in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan—reinvigorated peace activists: the crowds were the largest New York City has seen in years.

The march began at Union Square and headed south on Broadway; at one point, it stretched 20 blocks, said a coordinator for the United National Antiwar Committee, which organized the march. When one of our editors passed it around Houston Street, marchers were waving Palestinian flags and chanting “Apartheid is racist, Israel is racist.”

The march ended in Foley Square, where protesters chanted slogans like “money for jobs and education, not for war and occupation” and “no war, can’t afford it no more.” Speakers like Cindy Sheehan, the long-time anti-war activist, made short speeches. “I think everyone here knows the wars are b.s.,” Sheehan said. “Everybody knows it’s not just the Republican people who are making wars on other countries as well as wars on women. We had a democratic administration and it was a democratic tyranny for two years.” Others echoed her sentiments, calling Obama a “chief warmongerer” and not “the lesser of two evils, but the more efficient evil.”

A sister rally was held in San Francisco on Sunday.