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Anti-War Activists March in Washington - 2001-09-29


Anti-war activists marched through the streets of Washington Saturday, urging the Bush Administration not to take military action in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in a city park to hear a variety of speakers opposed to a military response to the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

Richard Becker is with a group called Act Now to Stop War and End Racism.

"We are here because we know that a new war will not bring our sisters and brothers back," he explains. "It will only deepen the cycle of violence and death and destruction. A war without end is what the Bush administration projects, without limits on weapons. And it could multiply the terrible death toll of September 11 by ten times or 100."

The demonstration drew a mix of anti-war and pacifist groups from around the country. Richard Sawyer is a peace activist from Buffalo, New York.

"Afghanistan has been bombed out and blasted by the Soviets for ten years. We should be bombing them with food, not with weapons, not with bombs. That's the answer," he says.

Some anti-globalization activists joined the anti-war demonstrators. They had been planning to turn out in force for the annual meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, meetings that were cancelled following the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Some of the demonstrators seemed mindful that recent public opinion polls indicate overwhelming majorities in favor of using military force to strike back at terrorists.

This student was one of a group of about 200 people that traveled to Washington from Oberlin College in Ohio.

"Since 90 percent of the population in a poll is behind Bush, then we are going to just make things explode. I think the one thing we can all agree on is peace, that we are all here gathered together for peace. And that is the only message we need to send," the student said.

Former President Bill Clinton told a Washington news conference that he respects the right of the demonstrators to be heard. But Mr. Clinton also said those supporting terrorism abroad would not grant them the same right.

"So I would just ask them to remember that they can say whatever they want to say and do whatever they want to do because this is America," Mr. Clinton said. "And the people who did this to America would not permit them the same right."

Mr. Clinton joined with former Senator Bob Dole in announcing a scholarship fund for the children and spouses of victims of the September 11 attacks.

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