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As civilian casualties mount in Iraq so has civilian opposition to this war mounted in the streets of Philadelphia. Amid growing concern about U.S. war crimes in Iraq including the use of "bunker buster" nuclear weapons as well as napalm, and increasing human rights abuses within the USA, the Philadelphia region has seen daily antiwar protest.
On Sunday, March 30, 5,000 demonstrators marched against the Iraq War from Penn's Landing to the Federal Building and the Liberty Bell, in a march called by the Philadelphia Regional Anti-War Network (see AWOL magazine article, photoessays by Hans Bennett and Rich Gardner, and Mike's video.)
A sizeable contingent marched in solidarity with the Palestinian people, remembering the killing of International Solidarity Movement observer Rachel Corrie. There was a Pagan Cluster ritual, as well as an interfaith prayer ceremony. The march passed without incident, despite permit difficulties and angry counterdemonstrators; however, some PRAWN activists were arrested, for posting flyers. They will by tried on Friday.
Amid growing danger and difficulty for independent journalists in Iraq, Kensington activist and Iraq Peace Team delegate Shane Claiborne has returned to Philadelphia, due to visa problems. However, the Independent Media Center remains committed to "the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate tellings of the truth" and independent journalists will continue to report on our daily battles within this world-wide war.
Apr 3 2003 - 12:00am
On Friday, Baghdad suffered the heaviest bombing so far while refugees streamed into
the city as U.S. and British troops invaded the Iraqi countryside. As of
that evening, Philly IMC correpondant and Kensington organizer
Claiborne, currently living in Baghdad, was unhurt. He and
the Iraq Peace Team have been
visiting hospitals and publishing via ElectronicIraq.Net.
Antiwar actions in Philadelphia continued on Friday, starting at noon with a
vigil at the Israeli Consulate and a
youth and student walk-out that converged upon city hall, met by
about seven pro-war counterdemonstrators. Around 1 p.m., there was a
rally at the former INS building (now part of the Department of Homeland Security) on 16th and Callowhill Streets, to protest the mandatory "Special Registrations" of
Arab and Muslim non-citizens. At 4 p.m., the National People's
Democratic Uhuru Movement called a rally west of City Hall, for peace
through social and economic justice, and for liberation and reparations
for Arab, African, and all oppressed peoples (photos). At 5 p.m. Friday evening, a tiny critical mass bike ride gathered west of city hall, and demonstrators coverged at Market East Station to block traffic at various intersections throughout Center City. Despite an intense
police presence, there were no demonstrators reported arrested that
from today's rallies). At 5:30 demonstrators held a vigil
at the liberty bell. At 8:00 pm, the Liberty Cabbage Theatre Revival performed "Oiligarchy! A Comic Tragedy" at the Calvary Church (48th & Baltimore Ave), while Delaware County Poets Against War held a reading for peace in Swarthmore.
Today, massive peace demonstrations took place in New York (see article), DC and around the world, while in Philadelphia School of the Americas Watch Northeast, in collaboration with Penn for Peace and Amnesty International will hold a forum from noon to 6:30 p.m. at Tabernacle United Church, 3700 Chestnut Street, entitled, "Overcoming War and Terror at Home and Abroad." For upcoming antiwar actions, see the Philly IMC calendar.
Mar 22 2003 - 12:00am
Acting in solidarity with demonstrators
href="http://www.indymedia.org">around the world, Philadelphia-area
activists converged on Center City on Thursday to protest the U.S. military
assault on Iraq, as well as U.S. support for Israel. The focal point of
the actions was a 7:30 a.m. blockade of the Federal building at 5th and Market,
called the Iraq Pledge of Resistance, at which 104 demonstrators
were arrested. (photos: [
href="http://www.phillyimc.org/article.pl?sid=03/03/20/198201">2 | [
At 10 a.m., demonstrators gathered in City Hall to support Councilman Ortiz' resolution against the USA PATRIOT act, only to hear that the resolution had been postponed, pending further developments in the war on Iraq. At noon, the Brandywine Peace Community held a funeral vigil at City Hall for the victims of war, while Downingtown high school students staged an antiwar walkout.
Iraq Pledge of Resistance arrestees were arraigned at the Federal courthouse at 1:30 p.m. Supporters were turned away from attending their arraignment with the claim that the courts were full; nevertheless, as one arrestee stated, "The spectators' seats were less than half occupied." Meanwhile, a group of activists
Market St. outside the courthouse, in support of the Pledge of Resistance arrestees, all of whom were released on their own recognizance that afternoon. There was
href="http://www.phillyimc.org/article.pl?sid=03/03/21/0524201">at least one other antiwar demonstrator arrested that afternoon, but he was eventually released without charges.
From 4 pm onward, rallies and marches called by the Philadelphia Regional Anti-War Network, Not in our Name, and ANSWER, as well as a radical anti-imperialist bloc continued until they were dispersed by police after 7 p.m. (full report).
On Wednesday, Penn students, staff and faculty
href="http://www.phillyimc.org/article.pl?sid=03/03/20/2334225">set up an information and action center in the University's student center. Other demonstrations this week centered on
of Jewish-American activist Rachel Corrie by IDF forces in the Gaza
href="http://phillyimc.org/article.pl?sid=03/03/21/053250">the prosecution of KWRU activists for squatting abandoned housing. Actions will continue in
Philadelphia on Friday and Saturday.
Mar 21 2003 - 12:00am
Philadelphians from all over the city have been meeting with their representatives this week in preparation for the reintroduction of a resolution that would make Philadelphia a "Civil Liberties Safe Zone." The resolution, written by a local group called Unite for Peace in conjunction with the ACLU of Pennsylvania, would mandate that Philadelphia law enforcement officials be trained not to enforce those portions of the USA PATRIOT Act that violate the Constitution of the Untied States. It will be introduced by Democratic councilmember Angel Ortiz at the City Council meeting on Thursday, March 20. Unite for Peace has put out a call for people to attend the meeting to support the resolution.
Mar 19 2003 - 12:00am
Worldwide, candles were held as part of Archbishop
Desmond Tutu's call for "A Global Candlelight Vigil
for Peace." Cities from around the world were
encouraged to hold candlelight vigils beginning at
7pm, organized online by
Over 40 vigils were held across Philadelphia and
the region. A wide cross-section of society who
haven't come out before are all speaking out against
this war. In West Philly's Clark Park [Photos |
href="http://www.phillyimc.org/article.pl?sid=03/03/18/0351206&mode=thread">2], over 200 people stood and conversed as many
cars honked in support and trolley drivers waved and
cheered the crowd.
In just one rally, in
Square well over 3,000 Philadelphians rallied, forming a
fence of light by lining up around the perimeter of
Rittenhouse Square and singing songs of peace.
These vigils happened on the same day as a pro-war
rally was held in Valley Forge with over 6,000
participants. It was organized by a Philly-based
right-wing syndicated talk show host.
Mar 18 2003 - 12:00am
On Saturday, March 8, hundreds of women and supportive men celebrated International Womens Day by marching through Center City as part of the 4th Annual Global Women's Strike.
Participants banged on pots and pans in solidarity with thousands of women from around the world who responded to the International Wages for Housework Campaign's call to "Stop the World and Change It!"
The Philadelphia contingent, organized by Germantown's Crossroads Women's Center, marched down Broad Street, rallied at City Hall, and then gathered at the Asian Arts Initiative for lunch and entertainment. Signs, chants, and speeches focused predominantly on the impending war on Iraq. "80% of the casualties of war are women and children," read one sign. "Reclaim the military budget!" read another. "Money for caring, not for killing!"
Mar 11 2003 - 12:00am
Hundreds of youth and students converged at City Hall on Wednesday, March 5, to say no to the Bush regime's plans for war on Iraq. Five students from Temple University chained themselves to the front of US Armed Forces Recruitment Center to demonstrate their conviction. [STORY and PICTURES on the student protest]
The protest was one of many anti-war events that day, as thousands joined together in mass decentralized protests against the war on Iraq, responding to a call for "no business as usual." Demonstrators in Philadelphia utilized poetry, puppetry, prayer, cinema, walkouts, sitdowns, and standups of all kinds to get the word out.
March 5 was initially chosen by a group of high school student organizers as a student walkout day. Then, over a dozen organizations jumped on board, declaring the day a National Moratorium against the war. Endorsers ran the gamut from the Progressive National Baptist Convention to the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, from the American Indian Movement to Global Exchange.
Mar 7 2003 - 12:00am
Starting with a march from the Liberty Bell to South Street, Philadelphia and area supporters rallied in front of Taco Bell to turn up the heat support for a nationwide boycott of Taco Bell and in support of tomato pickers currently on hunger strike. About 80 protesters turned out, raised a pre-Mardi Gras Ruckus chanting "Yo No Quiero Taco Bell!" and "One Penny More!" in reference to demands of a one cent per pound of tomatoes increase in pay for the pickers. The crowd included the principle organizers from the IWW, (mushroom workers from Kennet Square, Mexicanos Juntos, striking SEIU janitors from Norristown, Jobs with Justice, the Kensington Welfare Rights Union, the Anarchist Communist Union of Philadelphia, and many other unions and autonomous supporters. John Braxton of Jobs with Justice led the crowd in union anthems, and numerous speakers gave their support while Mexicanos Juntos served delicious hot Atole.
The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) hungerstrike targets Taco Bell and their owners Yum! for buying tomatoes from large tomato companies like "Six L's, Packing, Co., Inc." who pay paltry wages to already struggling workers. Tomato pickers in Immokalee FL, are paid as low as 40 cents a 32 pound bucket, the same as they were paid in 1978 and are given no health care or benefits despite back breaking conditions. The CIW, an inspirational direct democratically organized group of tomato pickers and other activists have fought for years to bring basic economic justice to Southern Florida's plantations and have taken on Taco Bell because of their role as a powerful, high profile corporate interest which invests and profits from their exploitation.
Aside from a successful picket during which Taco Bell remained relatively empty, it was an occasion for networking amongst mostly Mexican and Latino workers and making ties for future relationships and practical solidarity. [Photo Essay 1] [Photo Essay 2]
Mar 5 2003 - 12:00am
Some time ago a server failure disabled out site. Unfortunately the backup situation was not what it should have been and we will will need some time to get the site current again.
We apologize for any inconvenience
Feb 28 2003 - 12:00am
About 8:00 a.m. this morning, over 40 Philly critical mass bike riders clogged traffic for hours in center city on Feb. 20th to protest the escalation of war in Iraq and make the point that we don't need gas and oil to get around the city, and we don't need gas and oil if it means the loss of millions of Iraqi lives. Bikers carried signs and handed out flyers, passing the US Mint, and the Liberty Bell, circled City Hall several times, and circled the Federal Building, Court House and Detention Center. It lasted over 2 1/2 hours, and received honks, peace signs, resistance fists and chants of support from people on the sidewalk and even from people in cars.
Feb 20 2003 - 12:00am