Anti-War Protesters March in Hollywood

Laura Lacy

Though Los Angeles is notorious for its gridlocked streets and erratic drivers, instead of cars filling the streets of Hollywood last Saturday, there were hundreds of people rallying for the end of the Iraq War.

Saturday marked the seventh anniversary of America’s invasion of Iraq. Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER) organized the protest which coincided with other protests held by the organization in Washington D.C., Chicago and San Francisco.

Slideshow Media Credit: Celith De Santiago

From blocks away, the thunder of raucous punk rock music could be heard emanating from the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street. People armed with picket signs, acoustic guitars, drums and peace signs painted on their faces were gathered by the hundreds and ready to be heard.

Small, temporary stands were scattered all along the sides of Hollywood with political protestors drawing people to their causes. The crowd was a remarkably diverse group and was gathered in large packs around the booths, heeding to the protestors’ calls.

The color and drama of the renowned Hollywood scene was not spared. Whether picket signs or giant papier mache satirical heads of Obama, the message was clear: “End the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, now!.” And it was that message that unified the hundreds of people of different ages, races and creeds on the streets of Los Angeles.

At the front of the crowd was a mobile stage being towed by a large truck in front of it. Veterans from the Iraq War, student activists, musicians and others took the stage to speak out. “Why are we here today?” said Muna Coobtee, a member of ANSWER, “To say no more!”

Chants started to rouse the crowd as the march began as they paraded down Hollywood Boulevard towards Highland Avenue. Many of the marchers carried cardboard boxes in the shapes of coffins draped with different flags. Some held banners so wide that they stretched completely across the street. Many brought homemade props of protest, such as a man-sized replica of a one-legged soldier asking to be taken home.

“We’re fired up, we can’t take it any more!” the crowd roared in unison, “We want money for schools, not for war!”

It was clear that these protestors were tired of the deaths of soldiers and civilians and with irresponsible waste of funds. They were screaming for healthcare, housing, and education instead of our current occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Once they reached their final destination at Hollywood and Highland, the protestors all united in a sit-in.

Despite the heat, hundreds of people all sat on the pavement of Hollywood Boulevard in protest of the war. Hot, sweaty and tired from their mile long march down the boulevard, the crowd still roared with energy for a special guest speaker.

At the head of the crowd on the side of the stage spoke Vietnam Veteran and renowned antiwar activist Ron Kovic.

“Today here in Los Angeles we are sending a message to L. A., to Chicago, to New York, to Washington and to San Francisco,” Kovic said. “Look at us here, sitting in the streets. This is only the beginning; this is an indication of more and more sit-ins that will occur until this war ends in the streets of America in Washington in Los Angeles in Chicago and New York and all over this country!”