Anti-war protestFrom teenagers taking their first political action to gray-headed veterans of wars and protests against wars, more than 1,500 people marched along Ala Moana yesterday opposing a U.S. war in Iraq.
draws diverse crowd
to Ala Moana
More than 1,500 people
voice their opposition to a
war in the Persian Gulf
By Diana Leone
The protest was one of dozens staged across the country yesterday, including large events in San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Protesters in Europe, Russia, Japan and the Middle East also objected to the war.
"We want people to realize that Americans are not pro-war," said Monique Soroka, who worries that the country is "treating weapons of mass destruction as if they were toys."
Fourteen-year-old Everett Jellinek kept time with march drummers and chanters by hitting a long bamboo pole on the ground as he walked Ewa on Ala Moana from Piikoi and circled Ward Warehouse and Ward Centre on Auahi Street. He said his mother encouraged him to come to the hour-long march "to see democracy in action."
His mother, Eden-Lee Murray, said that despite living through the Vietnam War this was her first protest march. "This expresses how we feel," she said of herself and her husband. Despite President George Bush's high approval rating, she said, "We haven't found anybody who is in favor of war."
Army veteran Lou Rosof, 73, marched briskly along with his dog, Teddy Bear, who sported a cape with a world globe superimposed with a peace symbol.
"I just don't want us to go to war anymore. I don't want anybody killed in my name," Rosof said.
Police Sgt. Glenn Naekawa said the crowd, organized by the local branch of the anti-war group Not in Our Name, may have approached 2,000. He said 17 officers on bicycles and in cars escorted the march without incident.
Buddy Vidal of Kapolei heard the noise of the march while he was shopping in Ward Warehouse and came out to see what it was. He said that although he thinks war with Iraq may be necessary, "I think people are entitled to their own opinion."
Skye White took a break from working at a store in Ward Warehouse to shout encouragement to protesters as they passed by. "Fight the power! No war!" she called out.
Radha Dasa of Manoa, pushing her 1-year-old daughter Meili in a stroller, said she was marching "because the future lies in our children and we've got to protect our rights to have no war." Looking around at fellow marchers, she said, "It's good to know there are people who think alike."
At a rally before the march in Ala Moana Park, Eric Seitz, a civil rights and labor lawyer who said he's been "demonstrating against wars for five decades now," complimented those present for protesting a war "that hasn't even started yet."
"We're setting the tone here for what is to come," he said.
Seitz also urged that people be vigilant against potential infringements on civil rights in the name of the war on terrorism.
Kalama Niheu, representing the group Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific, spoke while holding an upside-down Hawaiian flag, a symbol of the sovereignty movement, and proclaimed "kanaka maoli say that this war is not in our name."
"Violence has no loyalty," Niheu said in criticizing U.S. actions around the world. "You can train people and they turn around and use it against you."
Marcher Mel Zimmerman of Toronto is in Honolulu for a conference, the first time he's been here since passing through as a serviceman in World War II.
"That was a different war," Zimmerman said, with a real axis of evil, not the "phony axis" that he said Bush has created to drum up support for this war.
Larry Jones and Judy Fiocco of Waikiki said their Christian faith prompted them to join the march.
"This movement toward war is unbiblical. I have children and my children have children and they shouldn't have to live like this," Jones said, holding a sign that read, "What would Jesus do?"
Fiocco, his wife, gave the example of Jesus' parable in which he asks one person not to worry about a splinter in his brother's eye, when there's a log in his own.
Jones was quick to interject: "We have an enormous missile in our eye."
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