Anti-war rally in downtown draws hundreds

Los Angeles Daily News
Friday, September 21, 2001
Anti-war rally in downtown draws hundreds
By Troy Anderson

An emerging anti-war movement in Los Angeles held its secondvigil Thursday evening in Pershing Square in downtown, drawing300 to 400 people.

Men in Aztec dress pounded on drums and women in colorful headdresses danced as protesters held up signs to passing
motorists, many of whom honked apparently in support and some yelled indecipherable jeers out their windows.

Protesters played flutes, held up rainbow flags with peace symbols and signs that read, "An eye for an eye makes the
whole world blind -- Gandhi" and "The death of more innocents will not make us safe."

Sally Marr, an organizer for newly emerged Coalition for World Peace said the vigil is the second one the group has held
since the first one Sunday at Griffith Park which attracted about 300 people.

"We are forming it to counterbalance the retaliatory and militaristic attitudes in the country, and we are trying to
resolve this in a peaceful way," she said. "It's the beginning of an anti-war movement.

"This is not going to be like any war we've ever known. We are trying to stop this before it starts."

East Los Angeles resident Rudy Pisani, 71, a Korean War veteran, said the U.S. foreign policy has caused enormous
suffering in war-torn Afghanistan and throughout the world.

"Now they have turned against the USA because the USA has always bombed Muslim nations," Pisani said. "People live in caves there. What are we going to bomb? My heart goes out to the innocent people in Washington, D.C., and New York who died. But violence will not solve this."

North Hollywood resident Pawel Chmielewski, 47, said he opposes all wars because many civilians are killed.

"We need to normalize our relations with Iraq and end sanctions against the Palestinians," he said. "This is the
reason for the terrorist attack. This has nothing to do with the Muslim religion. They are just fighting back."

Marr said the United States needs to ask why its foreign policies have sparked such hatred.

"The country has been practically leveled to the ground already by what the Russians did. There are 30 million land
mines the Russians dug into the ground and dropped from airplanes there. If we send in ground forces from America, can
you imagine how many people are going to come back without their limbs?"

Organizers said they plan to hold another rally at noon Saturday at the Federal Building in Westwood, and another one
a week later at the same location.

Sister Elizabeth Prus, 91, of the Catholic Sisters of Social Services said war is useless.

"We are coming down to the level of the people we abhor," she said. "We are not here to do vengeance."

Back to September 11 Main Page