New York City, NY – Over 10,000 protesters gathered here at Union Square, April 9, to demand an end to U.S. wars and occupations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine and Libya. Diverse organizations, including anti-war, labor and student groups across the country, united under slogans like, “Bring our war dollars home.”
Hatem Abudayyeh, co-founder and coordinating committee member of the U.S. Palestinian Community Network, opened his speech by leading the crowd in chanting, “Free Palestine!” and “End the occupation now!” He then said, “It is because of these slogans that 23 of us in the Midwest have been subpoenaed to the grand jury to testify against our movement, to inform on others in the Palestinian community and in the Palestine solidarity movement. All of us have said that we refuse to testify to the grand jury. We refuse to allow the criminalization of this movement by this government.”
A student contingent rallied earlier at Washington Square Park by the New York University campus and then marched to join with the larger United National Anti-War Committee (UNAC) rally. Stephanie Taylor of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) said, “SDS is here today to demand money for education, not endless wars and occupations. We are enraged that our tax dollars go to killing civilians and destroying people’s movements abroad while people here in the U.S. face foreclosures, massive student debt and a hopeless job market.” The student march to Union Square included UNAC student organizers, SDS, Students for Justice in Palestine and many other student organizations.
Other contingents at the UNAC march represented Palestinians, Latino immigrants, the New York Muslim community and the Committee to Stop FBI Repression.
New Yorkers lined the streets to cheer on the UNAC march, which ended at Foley Square. 20 blocks at a time were filled with marchers chanting against all U.S. imperialist wars, including the recent bombings of Libya. Chants included, “From New York to Palestine, solidarity is not a crime!”
Tracy Molm spoke on behalf of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression at Foley Square. “Make no mistake, if they can do this to us you could be next. If the government is allowed to make the case that our solidarity work is criminal they can go after any of you too. It is critical that we stand up now before this happens, before any of us go to jail. While I face the risk of jail time I ask for one small thing from all of you, visit StopFBI.net and sign the pledge to protest if and when there are more subpoenas or indictments.”