Hollywood Protest Marks War’s Fifth Year; 4,000 U.S. Deaths

Fabiola Prieto

The feel of the anti-war march and rally held on March 15 in Hollywood was certainly inspiring. According to organizers the demonstration drew at least 10,000 people.

But since the amount reported by police was 2,000, it became one of those “you had to be there” things; just as with many other protests since the war started, this one too, was undermined by corporate media.

The demonstration initiated by the Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER) Coalition was one of the many events held throughout the world in remembrance of the launch of “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” on March 19.

“The cost of war extends to U.S. civilians. The government spends $425 million a day on contracts for war profiteers while slashing billions from education, health care, housing and job training programs,” ANSWER said in a press release.

During the event, which lasted more than three hours, marchers condemned what they call an “unjust and unnecessary war,” and remembered the deaths of the nearly 4,000 U.S. soldiers, as well as the deaths of over a million Iraqis since this war began.
“When you talk about destruction, don’t you think you can count us!” read the banner carried by students Jessica Pineda, 22, and Channel Scebur, 20. The march proceeded undisturbed. No arrests were made during this demonstration.

Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic, author of the book “Born on the 4th of July,” led the march. “This is what democracy looks like,” he said as he took to the stage to begin his speech.

“I used to see him back in the ’80s at the anti-nuclear war protests,” said Lynn Cohen, 50, who cheered as Kovic came on stage.
Other speakers included U.S. presidential candidate Gloria La Riva, of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, and Malalai Joya, a former member of the parliament in Afghanistan.

“[US policy in Afghanistan] is a mockery of US foreign policy and a mockery of the war on terror,” Joya said.

March participants included progressive, left-leaning organizations such as KPFK (FM-90.7) Pacifica radio and the Party for Socialism and Liberation. Many reformist ideals were evident during the march. There were youths with red and black flags, banners demanding a halt to occupation in Latin America and the Middle East, and, inevitably, the various ways and means (words and pictures, signs and banners) of insulting President George W. Bush.

All of these, including the man holding a sign that read “So many hippies, so few grenades,” would have made this event a true affirmation of free speech, except for the expected censorship that the corporate media would later impose.

The organizers of the event knew that their message wouldn’t be conveyed through the mainstream press, so they traced the path of the march to end in front of the Cable News Network building located in the intersection of Sunset and Cahuenga boulevards.

“Don’t you see CNN? Put the peace march on TV,” some protesters yelled.

But, this was in vain, as of March 19, the only coverage CNN.com had about the many protests held that date, began with the headline: “Anti-war Protesters arrested at IRS.” And although this report mentioned some other rallies around the country, the network neglected the one that was (literally) right under its nose.