L.A. Anti-Wars Protesters Gather Outside Obama Fundraiser
A group of protesters consisting of anti-war and civil rights organizations gathered at President Barack Obama’s fundraising event on Monday afternoon at House of Blues in West Hollywood, Los Angeles. More than 100 people came to protest against wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. and the protest continued for more than 2 hours, said Ian Thompson, ANSWER LA's organizer.
Hundreds of people came to Sunset Boulevard, yelling “Troops Out Now” all the way down the street and waving flags and boards. Some people brought drums and guitars to give street performances. One side of the street was fully armed police and security guards and the other side looked like a big party.
ANSWER LA is a part of ANSWER Coalition, which stands for Act Now to Stop War and End Racism. This protest group was formed after 911 and has helped organized many of the largest anti-war demonstrations in the United States, including the big San Francisco protest against the Iraq War involving hundreds of thousands of people.
ANSWER LA says the Obama administration has poured in too much money into wars, while neglecting other important issues unattended, such as education.
Kevin Baker, a 27-year-old protester in ANWER LA, served in the US army for 8 years and was deployed to Iraq twice. The last time was 2007 to 2008. During his service in Iraq, Baker said he realized that Iraqi people did not want the US army to “help” them there. The enemies they were fighting were ordinary Iraqi famers and people, Baker said. The Iraqi people reject the occupation and American soldiers are suffering every day, he added. “Obama should do what he said he would do. We are not helping Iraq. We are ruining their lives,” said Baker.
After returning from Iraq, Baker has been involved with ANSWER LA to promote anti-war campaigns in schools and universities. During the protest, he started a quarrel with a local man who served 6 years in the army and argues the USA rescued the Iraqi people from Saddam Hussein’s brutal regime. Baker said he believes in the power of protest and the success in Tunisia and Egypt has strengthened his will to carry on.
Reach Shako Liu here.