U.S. Citizens for Peace & Justice - Rome Italy anti-war demonstration in Rome

Member Articles

Is anti-war activism on the wane? What can revive it?
May 2012

Reports from Palestine
Oct-Nov 2010

Earth Day in Israel: Apartheid Showing through the Greenwash
April 23, 2010

Occupied Washington, DC
March 30, 2010

AIPAC: Telling a Whopper
March 27, 2010

Questioning Our Special Relationship with Israel
Feb 13, 2010

Assedio di Gaza: Rompere l'indifferenza
Dec 2009

My Memories of Fort Hood
Nov 9, 2009

Italy's Fallen Soldiers
Sept 23, 2009

Yes We Camp
July 10, 2009

Absurdity is the Norm in the Gaza Strip
June 10, 2009

Il pacchetto di sicurezza viola i diritti umani
March 2009

U.S. Military Base in Vicenza, Italy Gets Final Approval
February 2009

“Unofficial” Referendum in Vicenza, Italy:
95% Opposed to New U.S. Military Base

Oct 2008

Mat and Yvonne Say: No Dal Molin
Sept 2008

U.S. Military Interests Reign Supreme in Italy
July 2008

Italian Court Blocks Construction of U.S. Military Base
June 2008

Movimenti contro le basi militari negli USA
May 2008

As Italy's elections go from bad to worse, Vicenza remains the silver lining
April 2008

What Do You Know About the U.S. Base Camp Darby?
Feb 2008

Tired of Promises, Vicenza, Italy Demands Action Against New U.S. Military Base
Dec 9, 2007

Not Your Ordinary 4th of July in Vicenza, Italy
Or How To Get Kicked Off a U.S. Military Base

July 4, 2007

Italian Women Opposing New U.S. Military Base Lobby Capitol Hill
May 11, 2007

No Peace or Justice: America's plans to Expand a US Military Base in Vicenza, Italy
March 2007

Anti War March in DC
Jan 27, 2007

March for Palestine
Nov 18, 2006

Travel Advisory
Oct 17, 2006

Letters from Camp Casey
Aug-Sept 2006

Don't Iraq Iran
May 18, 2006

Italian National Assembly of the Anti-War Movement
Feb 11-12, 2006

International Peace Conference in London
Dec 10, 2005

Concert in memoriam in Rome: Marla Ruzicka and the victims of war
July 9, 2005


Note: Opinions or points of view expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of USC4P&J


We want to hear
from you!

If you'd like to write an article on an issue or initiative dear to your heart, send it in for publication to:
info@peaceandjustice.it

Report on the Jan 27 March in Washington, D.C.

The following are notes from my last few days in Washington, D.C. I spent 15 days in D.C. volunteering for the demonstration held on January 27 and the Lobby Day on Jan 29.

Pre-March Activities
The Friday before the march was a busy day with a number of events leading up to the big demonstration. That morning CodePink presented an installation of "Walk in Their Shoes," commemorating Iraqi civilians whose lives have been taken in the war. The shoes, each one tagged with the name and age of an Iraqi victim, were in a Plexiglas cube about 1.5 meters square and 2.5 tall. The shoes spilled out on to the grass. There were 6500 pairs, one for every 100 Iraqis killed in the war. The installation was placed on the mall right in front of the Capitol, as well as the stage for the rally the next day. Shoes were dropped off all weekend by people participating in the march. Jodie Evans and Medea Benjamin of CodePink spoke as did Michael McPhearson of Veterans for Peace. The names of Iraqi victims were also read.

Friday evening a somber candlelight vigil was held against torture in front of the White House. The vigil was held for victims of torture, as well as those being detained without charge and those who have lost their right to Habeas Corpus. Torture survivors were present, including Sister Dianna Ortiz. There were about 100 of us there lining Pennsylvania Ave in front of the White House.

Following the vigil that night we had a reunion meeting with the folks from Camp Casey led by San Diego activist extraordinaire Barbara Cummings (she sent us the pink Impeach Bush t-shirts) and Ret. Col. Ann Wright, who resigned from the State Department in protest of the Iraq War. There were at least 80 of us, many from Camp Caseys past whom I met for the first time. We went around the room introducing ourselves and I wish I had taken notes because there are some "average" citizens doing extraordinary things to stop this war! Colonel Ann told us on one of her recent trips to interrupt hearings on Capitol Hill, she was being escorted out by a large burly man who told her, "I'm a Marine, and I'm glad you're doing this."

The Day of the March
We were all invited to go down to the Mall at 7am as "Good Morning America" on ABC was going to be shooting live. Only a few made it down that early and the rally wasn't to start until 11am. But as was to be expected, the mainstream media reported on how few people were there! The rally was covered live by C-Span and is available on their web site (requires RealMedia player).

Speakers included religious leaders such as Michael Lerner, political figures who have been outspoken against the war such as Dennis Kucinich, Lynn Woolsey, Maxine Waters and Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson. The Hollywood contingent included Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn, Tim Robbins and Jane Fonda. Iraq War Veterans, military family members and Gold Star family members as well as active duty soldiers who had signed the Appeal for Redress (http://www.appealforredress.org/) and war resister Lt. Ehren Watada's father, Bob Watada also spoke and received much applause from the crowd.

Then the march got underway. United for Peace and Justice, the organizers, had tried for a march route going around the Capitol, but the Capitol Police would not approve it. After much negotiation, a march up one side of the Capitol was approved, having the demonstrators double back ON THE SAME STREET. This route was accepted knowing it would be chaos and hoping the numbers would force the police to provide an alternate route. And that is exactly what happened.

I actually marched it twice. I was pretty close to the head of the march and I went up to the point where they made us double back. The street was block by a city bus parked sideways. I got back to the Mall and there were still so many people that I marched again. This time they let us go all the way around the Capitol and march down the other side. We surrounded the Capitol. I've heard various stories on who negotiated and convinced the police to let us through, including that Maxine Waters picked the bus up and moved it out of the way.

As far as numbers, UFPJ initially estimated the crowd at 400,000. Someone from Veterans for Peace told me he had heard the Park Service say 500,000. Juan Torres, Gold Star Families for Peace who lost his son in Afghanistan said he spoke with the French press and they were saying 650,000 - an interesting number since it would be one for every Iraqi civilian victim. Unfortunately, the initial AP stating "tens of thousands" was picked up by much of the press.

People were everywhere. On the steps of the Senate buildings, the Capitol, around the reflecting pool. And, of course, marching in the streets. There was great variety and diversity. Veterans, active duty service members (Appeal for Redress), military families, celebrities, the labor movement, women's groups (NOW, CodePink), grassroots (MoveOn, Working Assets, Answer), and many, many state delegations proudly waving their state flags. The one from Texas, with the banner from Camp Casey and another from the Crawford Peace House got a lot of attention.

There were many creative signs and theatre. My favorite sight was a 50 meter long backbone with "Investigate, Indict, Imprison" written on the sides. There were many references to impeachment, opposition to the surge/escalation, to military action against Iran, and against torture. It was loud and very energized.

There was a rather pathetic counter protest of about 30 people. Signs read "I support the president and the war."

Post March Activities and Lobby Day
On Sunday workshops and training sessions were held in a local high school from 9am to 5pm. I chose those that would be most helpful for the Lobby Day. The first that morning was sponsored by Veterans for Peace and Military Families Speak Out and focused on cutting off funds for the war. This one to be the main focus of the Lobby Day since Bush is expected to present his request for a $100,000,000,000 supplemental spending bill for Iraq on Feb 5. The second was with Iraqi blogger Raed Jarrar and journalist Aaron Glantz who filled us in on the Iraqi Parliament as well as the new oil law.

The plenary session included speakers such as Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies, David Swanson of AfterDowningStreet.org, Leslie Cagan of UFPJ.

Sue Udry, who coordinated the Lobby Day told us we had over 800 people registered, and since peace activists don't follow instructions, they were expecting many more. In fact, when we broke up into state delegations, I found that half the group from Colorado had not registered.

On Monday, we had 48 of 50 states represented and everywhere you went that day, on all floors of all the various Senate and House buildings, you saw peace activists. On a conference call with Jim McGovern in preparation for the Lobby Day he told us, "They know you are coming!" It was beautiful. A staffer in my pro-war Democratic Senator's office (Ken Salazar) told us, "When 500,000 people march in your backyard, you take notice."

Perhaps the most beautiful sight was looking down from an upper floor in one of the Senate buildings at the enormous group from California who had to meet in the lobby, as they couldn't possibly fit in any office.

Three Representatives put their offices at our disposal for a cup of coffee or just a place to sit down for a bit. These were Jim McGovern, Dennis Kucinich and Maxine Waters, who had big welcome signs for us.

We lobbied on 4 main points, in order of importance: cut off funding for the war, investigations into the lead up to the war as well as waste and fraud, no military action against Iran and opposition against the escalation, AKA surge.

I ran into some people from Code Pink in the halls and they invited me to one last action before I left the next day. So on Tuesday morning, about 50 of us gathered at Senator Hillary Clinton's office. We had banners, children's shoes representing the Iraqi victims of the war, and we sang and chanted demanding she cut off funding for the war and as a presidential candidate, take a strong stand against the war. There was much press there and a number of us invaded her office for a while. But when the police started giving warnings I got out of the way, as I wanted to come home. Six people did get arrested. The rest of us sang and chanted our way down four flights of stairs and out of the building. We were very loud and as people complained about the police state I tried to imagine being able to do something like that in Italy.

We then walked over to where a number of Senate hearing were taking place and interrupted the confirmation hearings for Negroponte as nominee for Deputy Secretary of State. He will most likely be confirmed, but we made our voices heard.

And finally, I will leave you with a message that my friend Richard received from an "old Missouri cattleman." Richard is a cattleman himself and was always asking his older neighbor to keep an eye on his place while he was "away," without explaining he was going to a protest in Kansas City, or to Camp Casey in Texas, or Camp Democracy in Washington. He slowly started letting his neighbor know what he was doing. And he received the following message from him:

"I support the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I support the killing of innocent women, children and soldiers.
I support the desecration of the Constitution.
I support the destruction of our environment and our eco-systems.
I support Global Warming.
I support the death penalty for poor people and people of color.
I support population control through starvation.
I support the power to imprison us without our due process by
eliminating habeas corpus.
I support these things by DOING NOTHING."

Feel free to forward the above, attributing it to "an old Missouri cattleman."

Stephanie Westbrook

Top

Mailing List

Stay informed
Join the USC4P&J mailing list to stay informed on events and initiatives.

Ongoing/Future Events

TRUMP IS IN TOWN! Protest rally Tuesday,
May 23rd, 7:30pm,
in Rome, piazza Bologna



Click below to see the call to help us choose the films for our film series 2017

and our next film:




Click here to sign a petition, to put an end to the sanctions against Syria - their only effect is to take a terrible toll on the population, causing them to migrate! And click here to see the video made by the Italian-based Committee to lift sanctions against Syria.


Iraq Deaths Estimator
Did someone tell you that U.S. military intervention in Iraq was over? Not true: we're at it again. This time the pretext to drop bombs is "curbing ISIS" (which was created by the U.S. in the first place, to overturn Assad in Syria and al-Malaki in Iraq, and is now out of hand. Like what happened to "our" creature al Qaeda in Afghanistan). And the death toll continues to rise...
Write your senators and tell them: "Enough! U.S. out!! Iraq has shown it can defend itself from ISIS!"

Copyright © 2006 Stephanie Westbrook  All rights reserved.
U.S. Citizens for Peace & Justice - Rome, Italy