Last Weekend’s cold weather did not stop an estimated 1,200 people from drumming and marching through Ann Arbor holding signs bearing such slogans as, “No blood for oil.”
Residents held their own rally on the steps of the Federal Building to support and show solidarity for the anti-war protests in Washington and San Francisco.
Along with other anti-war rallies held across the country during Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, rally organizer and University alum Phil Carroll said the rallies had a relevant interconnection because it was MLK weekend.
“The real purpose is to stop the war before it starts,” Carroll added. Carroll also said Saturday’s rally was the largest rally in Ann Arbor since the Vietnam era.
The rally attracted participants of various age groups, including many families with young children. Ann Arbor residents expressed their enthusiasm for the cause, even dressing small dogs in anti-war apparel.
Carroll listed the many different reasons why Ann Arbor residents had anti-war sentiments.
“Some are anti-war because of moral reasons – conscious reasons. Some consider themselves humanitarians, and are concerned about the pending death and poverty,” Carroll said.
Student speaker Max Sussman, a member of Anti-War Action! addressed the crowd and stressed the importance of not only considering the effects of the U.S. government’s actions abroad, but also on U.S. domestic policies, such as those regarding civil liberties, oppression and the reduction of social services.
“(It is important to remember that) there are hundreds of thousands of people across the country who are rallying against the war, and have power,” Sussman said.
Kathy Linderman, member of the Ann Arbor Area Committee for Peace, was pleasantly surprised by the high turnout. This course of action with Iraq has made more mainstream Americans anti-war, Linderman said.
Numerous organizations, such as the Ann Arbor Area Committee for Peace, Ann Arbor Coalition Against the War, People’s Progressive Network, Solidarity, Street Wall Journal, Wooden Spoon Co-op and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom came together to protest the war and listen to speeches.