Posted by CODEPINK Staff
About the march from the Coliseum to the Pepsi center on August 27: the march was organized by Tent State University (see http://ivaw.org/ for more info on this truly great organization).
Several members of CODEPINK rushed to join the march from our work distributing “I am a delegate for Peace” pins, stickers, fans and banners at the various entrances to the Pepsi Center.
We met up with the marchers, cutting through the police who lined the road, to offer support to the veterans, artists and more than 5000 others who poured into the streets after a concert by Rage Against the Machine, the Flobots and other music groups. There was a heavy police presence. The veterans, dressed in combat uniform and the musicians led the march.
The goal was to march non-violently to Pepsi Center where the veterans would deliver their letter to the Democrats and to the Obama camp asking for an immediate end to the Iraq War, for full benefits for veterans and for reparations to the Iraqi people.
CODEPINK marched while singing and chanting. Betsy Rose (http://www.betsyrosemusic.org/) led the singing; moving guideposts were provided by pink umbrellas, held aloft.
Several had indicated their willingness to be arrested at the head of the line; the rest of the CODEPINK marchers pushed forward to provide solidarity with the veterans and all those who were risking arrest at the gates.
It was amazing--not a typical peace march; it was extremely well-organized, emotionally wrenching and intense. Many thousands were young or very young, having been inspired by the musicians and the veterans to march for the first time.The parameters were clear; instructions and expectations were given in a very coherent way. The police were really helpful. Our main problem there was the heat and lack of water.
After a long delay at the gates, members of IVAW (Jeff Key and Liam Madden) were escorted to a meeting with members of the Obama campaign. Presumably other meetings will be forthcoming.
After this news was delivered, the weary marchers were asked to allow the veterans to pass through the middle of the crowd which they did, and the crowd dispersed. It was a powerful action. More details to follow...