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Day of Activism

Photos

The Anti-War Funeral Procession, also called the National Memorial Procession, started at the Women’s Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, and traveled over Memorial Bridge into Washington DC and on to the Ellipse south of the White House.  Marchers carried approximately 100 black-draped replica coffins, made of cardboard, along this route, where they laid these alongside another 1,000 similar replica coffins, to symbolize the dead in the war in Iraq.

This section of the Day of Activism set covers the opening rally at the Women’s Memorial, and the beginning of the march.  I did not cover the actual march to the Ellipse.


The banner held by two participants says it all. "A Trail of Mourning and Truth from Iraq to the White House". As evidenced by the participants' attire, and the sign, the predominant color was black, to symbolize mourning. As such, participants were strongly encouraged to wear black to this event.

The banner held by two participants says it all.  “A Trail of Mourning and Truth from Iraq to the White House”.  As evidenced by the participants’ attire, and the sign, the predominant color was black, to symbolize mourning.  As such, participants were strongly encouraged to wear black to this event.


A number of participants wore shirts stating various views on the Bush administration.  A number of participants wore shirts stating various views on the Bush administration.  A number of participants wore shirts stating various views on the Bush administration.

A number of participants wore shirts stating various views on the Bush administration.


A few participants wore desert-style military fatigues. This woman wears a jacket while holding a sign for ANSWER Coalition.

A few participants wore desert-style military fatigues.  This woman wears a jacket while holding a sign for ANSWER Coalition.

This sign kind of hits the nail right on the head, too.  Support our troops – bring them home.


Other participants came out with their own signs, either critical of George W. Bush, or with messages of a more personal nature.  Other participants came out with their own signs, either critical of George W. Bush, or with messages of a more personal nature.

Other participants came out with their own signs, either critical of George W. Bush, or with messages of a more personal nature.


One person took a bumper sticker and plastered it across their back, making a statement about "Bush Family Values".

One person took a bumper sticker and plastered it across their back, making a statement about “Bush Family Values”.


Some participants wore white flowers, illustrated here as one person attaches a white flower to the arm of another, using a red ribbon.

Some participants wore white flowers, illustrated here as one person attaches a white flower to the arm of another, using a red ribbon.


A significant crowd had gathered to hear the speeches and participate in the march. Note the signs on the backs of some participants. These were given out by the people organizing the protest, and pinned on the participants' backs. It really made for a powerful statement, since the message was in large type and in black and white.

A significant crowd had gathered to hear the speeches and participate in the march.  Note the signs on the backs of some participants.  These were given out by the people organizing the protest, and pinned on the participants’ backs.  It really made for a powerful statement, since the message was in large type and in black and white.


One woman near the front of the group held up a large photo of a soldier killed in Iraq.

One woman near the front of the group held up a large photo of a soldier killed in Iraq.


From across the reflecting pool, the crowd is significant. Note the original wording on the banner of "Honor the dead". This was changed on the other side of the sign to "Mourn the dead". Presumably the former was to be the original term used, and was later changed after the banner was made. Considering that this is a funeral-style procession, "Mourn" makes more sense.

From across the reflecting pool, the crowd is significant.  Note the original wording on the banner of “Honor the dead”.  This was changed on the other side of the sign to “Mourn the dead”.  Presumably the former was to be the original term used, and was later changed after the banner was made.  Considering that this is a funeral-style procession, “Mourn” makes more sense.


The crowd gathered in a semicircle around the small stage, and more people were coming in all the time.  The crowd gathered in a semicircle around the small stage, and more people were coming in all the time.

The crowd gathered in a semicircle around the small stage, and more people were coming in all the time.

The crowd gathered in a semicircle around the small stage, and more people were coming in all the time.  The crowd gathered in a semicircle around the small stage, and more people were coming in all the time.


Speakers carried all kinds of messages to the stage, all with the common theme of bringing our troops back home to us.  Speakers carried all kinds of messages to the stage, all with the common theme of bringing our troops back home to us.  Speakers carried all kinds of messages to the stage, all with the common theme of bringing our troops back home to us.

Speakers carried all kinds of messages to the stage, all with the common theme of bringing our troops back home to us.

Speakers carried all kinds of messages to the stage, all with the common theme of bringing our troops back home to us.  Speakers carried all kinds of messages to the stage, all with the common theme of bringing our troops back home to us.


Behind the stage, along the reflecting pool, lay roughly 100 replica coffins, representing some of the dead in Iraq. Each one had a rose on top of it. These coffins would be carried by participants to the Ellipse.  Behind the stage, along the reflecting pool, lay roughly 100 replica coffins, representing some of the dead in Iraq. Each one had a rose on top of it. These coffins would be carried by participants to the Ellipse.

Behind the stage, along the reflecting pool, lay roughly 100 replica coffins, representing some of the dead in Iraq.  Each one had a rose on top of it.  These coffins would be carried by participants to the Ellipse.


The coffins, with roses on them, made a more powerful statement than one might think. Even this smaller number at Arlington National Cemetery made one stop and think for a moment.

The coffins, with roses on them, made a more powerful statement than one might think.  Even this smaller number at Arlington National Cemetery made one stop and think for a moment.

The coffins, with roses on them, made a more powerful statement than one might think. Even this smaller number at Arlington National Cemetery made one stop and think for a moment.


While the speeches were going on, people were filming and photographing all over the place.  While the speeches were going on, people were filming and photographing all over the place.

While the speeches were going on, people were filming and photographing all over the place.


On the roof of the Women's Memorial, people took the opportunity to get some aerial shots of the group.

On the roof of the Women’s Memorial, people took the opportunity to get some aerial shots of the group.


This certainly was not a small crowd!  This certainly was not a small crowd!

This certainly was not a small crowd!


The Women's Memorial provided a great backdrop for the event, seen here from the far end of the roof.

The Women’s Memorial provided a great backdrop for the event, seen here from the far end of the roof.


The coffins line the perimeter of the reflecting pool, providing a powerful reminder of the amount of US soldiers who have died in Iraq.

The coffins line the perimeter of the reflecting pool, providing a powerful reminder of the amount of US soldiers who have died in Iraq.

The coffins line the perimeter of the reflecting pool, providing a powerful reminder of the amount of US soldiers who have died in Iraq.


Beyond the group assembled at the Women's Memorial, the road into Washington DC looms ahead, which the procession took on its way to the White House.

Beyond the group assembled at the Women’s Memorial, the road into Washington DC looms ahead, which the procession took on its way to the White House.


And now we march! The three flag-draped coffins lead the march, followed by the remainder of the coffins.

And now we march!  The three flag-draped coffins lead the march, followed by the remainder of the coffins.

And now we march! The three flag-draped coffins lead the march, followed by the remainder of the coffins.

And now we march! The three flag-draped coffins lead the march, followed by the remainder of the coffins.


One woman carried a black wreath.

One woman carried a black wreath.


Others carried large banners.  Others carried large banners.

Others carried large banners.

Others carried large banners.  Others carried large banners.


Marchers begin the walk to the White House along the sidewalk, headed into Washington.

Marchers begin the walk to the White House along the sidewalk, headed into Washington.

Marchers begin the walk to the White House along the sidewalk, headed into Washington.


Meanwhile, Park Police on horses keep watch.

Meanwhile, Park Police on horses keep watch.


Up the road from the Women's Memorial, and across the street from where the main group was marching, counter-protesters from the DC Chapter of Free Republic (Freepers, as they call themselves), a right-wing activist organization.

Up the road from the Women’s Memorial, and across the street from where the main group was marching, counter-protesters from the DC Chapter of Free Republic (Freepers, as they call themselves), a right-wing activist organization.

As a quick introduction for those not familiar, counter-protesters are generally those with an opposing viewpoint from the main protest group.  Their message is usually directed at members of the main protest group.  In this case, these counter-protesters were very pro-Bush administration and pro-war, in direct contrast to the main group.


Using various sound equipment, the counter-protesters chanted, "Protect the kids from car bombs, like you did for Saddam! Where are the human shields?"  Using various sound equipment, the counter-protesters chanted, "Protect the kids from car bombs, like you did for Saddam! Where are the human shields?"

Using various sound equipment, the counter-protesters chanted, “Protect the kids from car bombs, like you did for Saddam!  Where are the human shields?”


One thing that was quite noticeable was the row of counter-protesters videotaping the main march, with handheld cameras and cameras on tripods. The counter-protesters also taunted the main group, accusing them of being racists and such.

One thing that was quite noticeable was the row of counter-protesters videotaping the main march, with handheld cameras and cameras on tripods.  The counter-protesters also taunted the main group, accusing them of being racists and such.


The counter-protest group came off as being small but dedicated. The message on the orange sign, saying, "Only a TRAITOR desecrates the resting place of HEROES," managed to raise a few eyebrows with the main protest group. How is a peace march desecrating a cemetery?

The counter-protest group came off as being small but dedicated.  The message on the orange sign, saying, “Only a TRAITOR desecrates the resting place of HEROES,” managed to raise a few eyebrows with the main protest group.  How is a peace march desecrating a cemetery?


Another counter-protester holds up a poster showing Osama bin Laden, likening the members of the Code Pink "Women For Peace" group to those supporting the terrorists.

Another counter-protester holds up a poster showing Osama bin Laden, likening the members of the Code Pink “Women For Peace” group to those supporting the terrorists.


Following the encounter with the counter-protesters, I went back into the Arlington Cemetery Metro station.  I was headed to the World Bank to check on the protest vigil there.  I’d catch up with the anti-war group again later on in the day, at their closing rally.


While I was at the World Bank visiting the vigil at that location, the Anti-War Funeral Procession group marched from Arlington National Cemetery to the Ellipse in Washington DC, adjacent to the White House’s South Lawn.  At the Ellipse, the marchers were greeted to a sight like no other – 1,000 black-draped replica coffins lined up on the grass.  Some had American flags draped over them, and others were plain black.

After the people arrived, the closing rally began, with more speakers, and music.  Compared to the first one, this rally was a far more relaxed affair.  A number of people sat on the grass of the Ellipse, some stood and watched.  Others napped in the open air.  At the end of the rally, 28 people were arrested while participating in an act of civil disobedience, in an attempt to deliver the names of the war dead in Iraq to the White House.


It was quite a profound sight, seeing this many coffins, each representing a soldier killed in Iraq.

It was quite a profound sight, seeing this many coffins, each representing a soldier killed in Iraq.

It was quite a profound sight, seeing this many coffins, each representing a soldier killed in Iraq.



Many of the same participants from before, as well as a number of people who presumably joined along the way, were found in attendance at the closing rally at the Ellipse.

Many of the same participants from before, as well as a number of people who presumably joined along the way, were found in attendance at the closing rally at the Ellipse.


At the closing rally, people played music, and also gave speeches. Speakers included Michael Berg, father of Nicholas Berg, who was beheaded in Iraq, and Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mohandas Gandhi, among others.  At the closing rally, people played music, and also gave speeches. Speakers included Michael Berg, father of Nicholas Berg, who was beheaded in Iraq, and Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mohandas Gandhi, among others.

At the closing rally, people played music, and also gave speeches.  Speakers included Michael Berg, father of Nicholas Berg, who was beheaded in Iraq, and Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mohandas Gandhi, among others.


The large black banners also made it to the Ellipse, and were being held up by participants.

The large black banners also made it to the Ellipse, and were being held up by participants.


Meanwhile, media crews continued to film the events and record the speeches.

Meanwhile, media crews continued to film the events and record the speeches.


As you can see, this was indeed a very relaxed kind of event, with some sitting on the ground, some standing, and definitely a different mood than before.


One gentleman just simply took a nap on the grass of the Ellipse, within view of the White House, with a sign given out at Arlington National Cemetery still pinned to his chest.

One gentleman just simply took a nap on the grass of the Ellipse, within view of the White House, with a sign given out at Arlington National Cemetery still pinned to his chest.


Leaving this event, I helped a small group also leaving the event find their way back to the Metro, ending up at Federal Triangle station.  We discussed the whole protest march, the counter-protesters, the whole situation in DC this weekend, and so on.  After I arrived at Federal Triangle, it was back to the World Bank, where the closing rally for the vigil was getting ready to take place.


The weekend of October 2 was also the weekend of the meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).  Normally this event is accompanied by large-scale protests, and all kinds of other happenings.  This time around, the events were surprisingly low-key.  I quickly learned that no large-scale protests were planned in order to keep the focus on the upcoming presidential election.  As such, only a small vigil was being held at Murrow Park, across the street from the World Bank.  The vigil began the day before, and ran until the end of the closing rally at the vigil site.  All in all, it was a very low-key event, which was quite fitting.


Underneath a small tent in the middle of Murrow Park sit various people participating in the vigil outside the World Bank.  Underneath a small tent in the middle of Murrow Park sit various people participating in the vigil outside the World Bank.

Underneath a small tent in the middle of Murrow Park sit various people participating in the vigil outside the World Bank.


Around the tent, cloth banners were hung, painted with images stating viewpoints on the activities of the World Bank and the IMF.  Around the tent, cloth banners were hung, painted with images stating viewpoints on the activities of the World Bank and the IMF.

Around the tent, cloth banners were hung, painted with images stating viewpoints on the activities of the World Bank and the IMF.

Around the tent, cloth banners were hung, painted with images stating viewpoints on the activities of the World Bank and the IMF.


   

Other banners showed a list of demands, as well as a long list of organizations who have endorsed their vigil.  The demands read as follows:

In the 60th anniversary year of the IMF and the World Bank, WE DEMAND the following from the institutions and the governments that control them:
1) Open all World Bank and IMF meetings to the media and the public.
2) Cancel all impoverished country debt to the World Bank and IMF, using the institutions’ own resources.
3) End all World Bank and IMF policies that hinder people’s access to food, clean water, shelter, health care, education, and right to organize.
4) Stop all World Bank support for socially and economically destructive projects, and those that include forced relocation of people.


On the ground in front of the tent, banners were placed on the ground for those on the street and in nearby buildings to see.  On the ground in front of the tent, banners were placed on the ground for those on the street and in nearby buildings to see.

On the ground in front of the tent, banners were placed on the ground for those on the street and in nearby buildings to see.

On the ground in front of the tent, banners were placed on the ground for those on the street and in nearby buildings to see.


Additionally, small wooden crosses were placed all over the ground, each with the name of a third world country, and the amount of their debt.

Additionally, small wooden crosses were placed all over the ground, each with the name of a third world country, and the amount of their debt.

Additionally, small wooden crosses were placed all over the ground, each with the name of a third world country, and the amount of their debt.


After a quick visit to the World Bank after leaving the anti-war marchers at Arlington National Cemetery, I headed over to the Ellipse to revisit the anti-war crowd.  After finishing up there, I headed back to the World Bank, to see the closing rally for the vigil.


The area around the World Bank was barricaded off, creating a secure zone going a number of blocks in all directions. Murrow Park was about the only way that anyone could actually see the World Bank building, and the park itself was barricaded on three sides. On one side, the barricades extended as far away as Farragut Square, where a vehicle access gate was set up.

The area around the World Bank was barricaded off, creating a secure zone going a number of blocks in all directions.  Murrow Park was about the only way that anyone could actually see the World Bank building, and the park itself was barricaded on three sides.  On one side, the barricades extended as far away as Farragut Square, where a vehicle access gate was set up.


For the closing rally, a small but dedicated crowd had gathered.  For the closing rally, a small but dedicated crowd had gathered.

For the closing rally, a small but dedicated crowd had gathered.


Speakers spoke on a number of issues relating to third world debt and the policies of the World Bank and IMF. Some led parts of the written program, while others gave short speeches.  Speakers spoke on a number of issues relating to third world debt and the policies of the World Bank and IMF. Some led parts of the written program, while others gave short speeches.  Speakers spoke on a number of issues relating to third world debt and the policies of the World Bank and IMF. Some led parts of the written program, while others gave short speeches.

Speakers spoke on a number of issues relating to third world debt and the policies of the World Bank and IMF.  Some led parts of the written program, while others gave short speeches.

Speakers spoke on a number of issues relating to third world debt and the policies of the World Bank and IMF. Some led parts of the written program, while others gave short speeches.  Speakers spoke on a number of issues relating to third world debt and the policies of the World Bank and IMF. Some led parts of the written program, while others gave short speeches.

Speakers spoke on a number of issues relating to third world debt and the policies of the World Bank and IMF. Some led parts of the written program, while others gave short speeches.  Speakers spoke on a number of issues relating to third world debt and the policies of the World Bank and IMF. Some led parts of the written program, while others gave short speeches.


At the conclusion of this event, I was done!  That was the end of what was very much a day of activism.  I certainly learned quite a few things today, and had a lot of new experiences.

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Photos