Angelenos Join in Anti-Bush Protest
An anti-administration group staged rallies in Westwood and throughout the country Wednesday to protest issues ranging from President Bush’s stance on the Iraq war to his delayed response to Hurricane Katrina.
The Westwood rally attracted an estimated 1,200 protesters, including some who walked out of work and school to join in. The nighttime protest clogged traffic in parts of the Westside for hours.
Additionally, an estimated 1,000 Los Angeles students walked out of local high schools Wednesday for various daytime protests around the city. Among the schools hit by walkouts were Los Angeles High, Hamilton High and Lincoln High.
The protests were put together by World Can’t Wait, a coalition formed recently to stage the rallies. The protesters used the anniversary of Bush’s reelection to call for his resignation in major population centers that included Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, San Francisco and Chicago.
At the Wednesday evening rally in Westwood, two dozen cardboard boxes were draped with American flags to resemble caskets.
Among those at the rally were Simon Levy and Riley Steiner, the director and assistant director of the anti-Iraq war play called “What I Heard About Iraq.”
“It really is so much like the marches of the ‘60s in the Bay Area,” Levy said. For her part, Steiner said it was “exciting to be a part of the voice” against the war in Iraq.
Gustavo Ramirez of Pomona wore a T-shirt that said, “Our war budget leaves every child behind.”
“More than $300 billion has been spent on this war, and that has taken money away from education,” Ramirez said. He said he took seven days off from work in the hope that there would be more protests.
Monica Carazo, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Unified School District, said World Can’t Wait sent out fliers to schools urging students to leave school on the day of the protest.
“A lot of us were wondering where they were going,” she said.
The protests began about noon along Wilshire Boulevard. Various speakers and musicians participated, including jazz vocalist Rickie Lee Jones; Edwin Ellis, the president of Veterans for Peace, Los Angeles; activist Bianca Jagger, and organizer Lucy Lee.
In New York, students walked out of high schools and colleges as thousands rallied in Union Square before marching the nearly two miles to Times Square on a route lined with police on motorbikes.
In Chicago, organizers said, more than 500 people attended a downtown rally amid a strong police presence.
Near the San Francisco protest, a hurled Molotov cocktail ignited the uniform of a police officer.
According to World Can’t Wait, other supporters of the event included author Gore Vidal, actor Ed Begley, historian Howard Zinn and playwright Harold Pinter.