L.A. Peace Rally

L.A. Peace Rally

Finally. The rally got a big photo on the front page of the L.A. Times, an in-depth article, and Steve Lopez detailing Middle-class dissent on display at war protest.

Plus, it made the national new wires and lots of local TV. Yes, media coverage IS all important.

So, it’s onward to D.C. & S.F. this coming Saturday, for the major simultaneous national anti-war protests organized by ANSWER.

Some thoughts on the L.A. rally. It went well. A festive, happy atmosphere. Speakers included Martin Sheen, who has been arrested 40+ times for his anti-nuke activities; Ed Asner, a battle-scarred long time serious activist; and Ron Kovic of Born of the 4th of July fame. Plus some fine music from Jackson Browne plus Slash from Guns & Roses, Ian Ashbury from the Cult, the drummer from Janes Addiction, and others playing together. Also a smoking reggae hip hop group, Burning Star.

The crowd was estimated by the police at an absurdly low 2,000, a number even the L.A. Times didn’t believe, who said estimates were 5,000 – 15,000. As anyone who has been at such an event knows, judging crowd size is notoriously difficult. However, at one point the march stretched for at least six blocks. My guess – at least 15,000. (Added later) Note: Local radio news stations were saying 20,000-30,000 thousand.

A minor clunker, a group who I shall not name because why give them publicity, tried to jack the parade, starting it on their own with (surprise) themselves in front. Many of us organizers ran to the front, held hands and stopped them. At one point this group was screaming into their bullhorns that we monitors were FBI agents and that we had assaulted them – clearly they were trying to provoke an incident. Well, it didn’t work. And next rally we will have dozens of our people at the front of the line at all times.

La Opinion, the largest Spanish newspaper in the U.S. also featured the rally on their front page. Plus, there was a substantial turnout from unions, especially the 50,000 member SEIU Local 660.

All in all, a wonderful time was had by all!