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Today, on this unfortunate fifth anniversary of the illegal and immoral occupation of Iraq by the United States of America, thousands of people will pour out into the streets across America to show people in their communities what true democracy looks like.

Many marches are planned for the evening at 6 pm in each of the time zones that cover America. But many actions have already taken place and prove just how powerful and inspiring civil disobedience, civil resistance, and protesting can be. The stories of what is being done by courageous and brave Americans today will be told for generations to come especially since Congress has laid down and chosen to not challenge this war of occupation or impeach Bush/Cheney for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Out of San Francisco, KCBS reports on peaceful demonstrations marking the fifth anniversary:

A noisy but peaceful demonstration that brought traffic in downtown San Francisco to a halt was one of several around the nation on the fifth anniversary since the start of the Iraq war.

It was not business as usual in the Financial District as thousands of protesters marched, stopping at the headquarters of several companies—including Chevron, Citigroup and AT&T—to leaflet and call for a withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

Office workers described the scene to KCBS reporter Holly Quan as Mardi Gras with a message as the crowd made its way to the Israeli consulate.

There were a handful of arrests outside the Federal Reserve Bank at Main Street and Market when the march began. Demonstrators from CodePink were cited for briefly unfurling a banner over Golden Gate Park.

A handful of activists protested at a controversial Marine recruiting station in Berkeley, where a march and protest is planned for later today.

Besides the protests this morning, a rally and march is planned for this evening at the city's Civic Center.

Another account of the events by IndyBay.org gives a detailed description of the actions and the success they have had:

10:30 am: Large police presence in riot gear at the die-in on Market and 3rd and police are making announcements for people to clear the street or they will be arrested in approximately 10 min. Regardless a festive atmosphere is present.
10:18 am: Die-in at Market street is taking up all lanes and Market street is completely blocked; the demonstration against the UC reagents has ended with all who were locked down being arrested. Those at the UC demo are being asked to join the actions in downtown SF.
10:15 am: Snake March has reached Market and Kearny.
10:09 am: Die-in at 3rd and Market taking up two lanes of traffic, the police seem to be mobilizing. Reports of fire hydrants being opened around SF, one at Geary and Grant (58 Grant)
10:05 am: Protest against UC Reagents at UCSF Mission Bay is continuing and the police are unscrewing the doors in order to remove the three protesters still locked down. Reports from outside of the meeting say that there are still plenty of people inside.
10:01 am: Snake march is at 3rd and Market and has stopped to block that intersection
9:51 am: 50 more people have joined the march at Market and Sansome (DASW reports 400 people total); street theater about to start at Market and Sutter.
9:31 am: Protest outside of state building, signs in Chinese. Lots of police cars on Larkin, police motorcycles on McAllister. Police are looking for a bicyclist with a tan messenger bag and dark clothing who was allegedly opening fire hydrants.
9:28 am: Critical mass will depart from Justin Herman Plaza at 11AM
9:12 am: Snake march is at Sacramento and Montgomery, heading back toward downtown
9:08 am: TransAmerica building is on lockdown in anticipation of arrival of snake march. Call in reports to 415 992-7612.
9:05 am: 30-35 protesters are at Market and Pine doing a die-in with orange jumpsuits and black hoods. Police unit is on the way.
9:03 am: Four people are still locked down at UCSF Mission Bay. There are some protesters inside the UC Regents' meeting. People are also planning a reconvergence.
9:00 am: The snake march heading north on Kearny Street.
8:55 am: An Act Against Torture procession is headed east down Market from Sansome.
8:52 am: Five people have been arestted at UCSF Mission Bay, and 5 more are still locked down. The fire department and the police have left. Alternative Regents' meeting outside. The building is now accessible. The snake march was stopped and supporting the blockade on Chevron. The legal support number 415 285 1011. Snake march is heading out westbound on Pine, followed by motorcycle units.
8:44 am: Police are hanging out at First and Mission. Snake march is at Pine and Battery to support the blockade from the side entrance to Chevron. A dozen or so protesters and maybe 2 dozen police in front of Marine Recruitment Station in Berkeley.
8:38 am: Snake march has stopped at Pine and Battery.
8:36 am: The snake march has arrived at Chevron. Bike bloc is heading down 4th and King.
8:35 am: The snake march is heading to Chevron despite police attempts to stop it.
8:34 am: UCSF police are gathering a team to start arresting people who are shutting down UC Regents Meeting at UCSF Mission Bay
8:30 am: Bikes Not Bombs scheduled to assemble at Justin Herman Plaza in SF
8:30 am: A die-in has started at Market and Sansome, not far from Chevron.
8:27 am: The snake march is headed to Chevron. Listen to March 19th radio live at 102.5 FM or streaming thru Indybay.
8:25 am: Noone has been cut out of barrels at Chevron. Chevron has closed business for the day. Report of a group inside building. FM transmitter will be up in 15 minutes. Reports from inside Chevron sought for radio, please call 415 992-7612.
8:20 am: Four Codepink protesters have been detained after hanging a banner from the Golden Gate Bridge. The Chevron blockade has been broken up with 10 arrests so far. A snake march is about to leave Market and Sansome.
8:15 am: Police are extracting people locked down with chain at 345 California, but not the lockboxes or barrels. Heavy police presence, area is closed off. Request for people to come out and support protesters. Fire dept. on scene at Chevron.
8:09am: There is a group on south side of Market and Sutter. Request for support at 345 California, as there is a heavy police presence including a police bus there. Federal Reserve action has ended, as all lockdowns have been arrested. 345 California action declared "unlawful assembly," arrests likely.
8:03 am: 5 are locked down at Chevron, 345 California at Sansome. Police are on scene. Non-CD actions are at Citigroup and Feinstein's office.
8:00 am: Two snake marches plan to leave Sansome and Market, one north on Sansome in the street and one west on Market sidewalk
7:59 am: There is a city bus full of cops on Market St.
7:54 am: 4 have been arrested as fire department is cutting people out of lockdowns at UCSF Mission Bay.
7:47am: A lockdown has been deployed at Chevron.

Numerous arrests have occurred in the Bay Area. Chevron, an enabler of this occupation, closed for the day. The variety of actions and coordination of those actions appear to have the SF Bay police on their toes and has the local media watching for reports as the police meet these protests head on.

In Washington, D.C., protests have been underway as well. U.S. News and World Report gives a partial list of today’s events. AP reports:

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Octogenarian Jim Barron has hearing aids and a pacemaker. The prostate cancer survivor received a cortisone shot this month to ease the pain from an old shoulder injury.

"It got to the point where I couldn't lift a glass of water," Barron said.

Despite his aches, Barron planned to risk arrest Wednesday, the fifth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, which has claimed the lives of nearly 4,000 U.S. troops. He's part of a nationwide peace movement using the anniversary to protest with nonviolent civil disobedience.

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Kevin Gosztola is a writer and curator of Firedoglake's blog The Dissenter, a blog covering civil liberties in the age of technology. He is an editor for OpEdNews.com and a former intern and videographer for The Nation Magazine.And, he's the (more...)
 

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http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/03/19/777... by Kevin Gosztola on Wednesday, Mar 19, 2008 at 1:39:18 PM