Anti-war activists from all walks of life march in streets across U.S., world WAR IN THE GULF

January 20, 1991|By Ellen Uzelac | Ellen Uzelac,Sun Staff Correspondent Reporter Sandy Banisky of The Sun's Metro staff contributed to this article.

WASHINGTON -- Chanting Sixties-style peace slogans, tens of thousands of protesters marched around the nation yesterday in an impassioned call for an end to war in the Persian Gulf.

From Boston to Washington to San Francisco, demonstrators made the same demand: "Bring our troops home now." In Washington, a crowd estimated by police at 25,000 marched from the White House to the Martin Luther King Jr. Library after hearing the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson implore: "Stop the bombing and start the talking."

It was a demand that was echoed in marches across the globe as thousands took to the streets of Glasgow, Moscow, Sydney, Rome and Oslo. In North African countries, there were large-scale anti-American protests.

The daylong protest in Washington drew divinity students from Chicago, community organizers from Cleveland and 22-year-old Damian Dinan, a senior at Bloomsburg (Pa.) University who observed: "I just don't understand why we can't live in peace and work things out."

The crowd included hundreds of Marylanders who went to Washington from churches and campuses around Baltimore. Perhaps the largest contingent -- about 350 people traveling in a convoy of eight buses had assembled at Preston and Eutaw streets.

Early in the day, the Beatles song "Revolution" was blasted over the public address system. It was a day for Sixties props: peace symbols, chants of "Make love not war," tie-dye shirts and a sit-in that blocked traffic for several hours at New York Avenue and 14th Street.

During the mostly peaceful march, protesters were confronted by backers of U.S. intervention, including military servicemen bound for the gulf. As supporters of the president's s policy yelled, "U.S.A. U.S.A. U.S.A.," marchers shouted: "Shame, shame, shame."

Police said eight people were arrested on charges of crossing police lines or blocking traffic.

Marine Sgt. Andie Evans, 24, who is stationed at Camp Pendleton near San Diego, stood on the sidelines and did a slow boil. "Who in the hell do these people think they are? We've got to support our troops. What will they think if they see this on TV? They're fighting over there, for God's sake."

An ABC News poll Friday night showed that 83 percent of 543 people surveyed back the war effort, and that 71 percent disapprove of the war protests.

Organizers of the Washington march, who put the crowd at 80,000, urged people to return next Saturday. "We need more out next week and the week after that and the week after," said Paddy Colligan, a spokeswoman for the National Coalition to End Intervention in the Middle East. She and other activists criticized the media for "taking your cues from the Pentagon and greatly downplaying the expression against the war."

In the past week, thousands have demonstrated daily against the war -- and for it. Already, the anti-war effort has created its own lexicon: "dipstick diplomacy," "oil schmoil" and "operation peace shield."

Jamanna Dajany, a 27-year-old pollster from Utah, traveled for two days by train to attend the rally and hold up a sign that said simply: "War sucks."

In random interviews, 6 out of 10 people -- all of them in their teens and 20s -- said it was the first time they had marched in protest. "I'm afraid," said 23-year-old Colette Shaw, a graduate student at Shippensburg State University in Pennsylvania. "I have a brother who returned from the gulf right before the whole thing started, and I pray every day that he won't be sent back. Most of the kids on campus don't want to think about all this. I think everyone is afraid because it hits so close to home. . . . People are just so apathetic, though."

Sandra Plenty, 30, attended the march alone yesterday. The New Carrolton woman said seven friends were to accompany her but they backed out. "All of a sudden it was 'I have to do this. I have to do that,' " said Ms. Plenty, who works for a defense contractor. "That's what's wrong with people. They don't want to get involved."

For nearly three hours, speakers from groups representing people with AIDS, African-Americans, gays and lesbians, the homeless and the poor, among others, talked to the crowd. Casey Kasem, the Top-40 radio announcer, asked: "Why is there always enough money for war?" when he said there is never enough to spend on the war against crime and poverty and drugs.

Movie producer Michael Moore, who made the documentary "Roger & Me," warned: "Thousands will die. This is not a Rambo-Hollywood movie [government officials] can sit and watch in their living rooms."

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.