Iraq Veterans Against The War Lead
March and Civil Disobedience in Washington DC
On September 15th, tens of thousands of people rallied at Lafayette Park in Washington DC, in the United States, and then marched from the White House to the US Capitol to demand an immediate end to the occupation of Iraq. The march and rally were organized by the ANSWER Coalition, Iraq Veterans Against the War and many other organizations with the theme that: "Protesting is not enough. Come for the rally, stay for a week of direct action."
The protest culminated with hundreds of people participating in a "die-in" surrounding the Capitol. More than 193 protestors were individually arrested after crossing a short barrier surrounding the Capitol. Many members of the Iraq Veterans Against the War contingent were arrested, including family members of veterans and active duty soldiers, as well as veterans of the Vietnam War.
The civil disobedience was large enough that the Capitol police tried to stop arresting people and someone in charge yelled that the protestors had made their point. The police at the wall began to push back anyone trying to get arrested, and sprayed chemicals from a small red cannister on two people who tried, and finally succeeded, to get arrested. Capitol Police told the New York Times that arrestees will be charged with "illegally crossing a police line." The rights of protestors were trampled on throughout the day, especially at 67 K Street where the arrestees were being held.
Earlier, a single line on Pennsylvania Avenue of "Gathering of Eagles" and Young Republicans, a majority of whom never served in Iraq, yelled "traitor" at the Iraq Veterans Against the War contingent heading the antiwar march. The Iraq War veterans chanted, "We Are the Troops! Bring us Home!," while marching with flags printed with the names of big war contractors including Bechtel, Lockheed Martin, Blackwater and CACI.