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Washington Encampment To Stop The War - Day 1

Encampment To Stop The War - Day 1

By Les Blough in Washington
Mar 13, 2007

“If I can’t dance I won’t join the revolution!”
- Emma Goldman

The Encampment to Stop the War was pitched yesterday on the Washington Mall directly in front of the capital in full view of the Democrat-led congress demanding that they defund the U.S. war on the people of Iraq. It kicked off yesterday morning with 4 large trucks rolling into the Washington Mall, loaded with scaffolding, staging, conference room tents, medical supplies and all the equipment we needed to set up the Encampment. People began arriving to camp against the war at about noon. Some of those I interviewed came from Wisconsin, Arizona, Michigan, Missouri, Louisiana, North Carolina, Virginia, New York, Boston, Maine and others from in and around Washington DC. They came to set up their tents and demand that the Democrats in congress defund the war. It’s truly been a great day! The positive spirit that only empowered people can know fueled us to get the work done – and there was a lot of good work! Everyone pitched in to help set up conference-room size canopy tents as meeting places, a clinic for medical emergencies and our 4 p.m. press conference.

Walter Williams is the man who designed and directed the setup for the Encampment. Here he is on top of the scaffold securing the banner. Roll Call - a publication that arrived on the desk of every member of congress published this photograph this morning with the following words:
"Walter Williams of New York City helps prepare scaffolding for an anti-war banner as Troops Out Now Coalition sets up a weeklong encampment by the West Front Reflecting Pool on Monday. The group is in Washington to take part in protests marking the fourth anniversery of the start of the war in Iraq."

We set up scaffolding 3 stories high to carry 20 foot long banners facing 3rd street on one side and the Capital on the other - in full view of the congress, both declaring:




Buddy Spell, an activist attorney is here from New Orleans. He helped set up Cindy Sheehan’s Camp Casey and served as the lawyer for that historic encampment in George Bush’s front yard. He has organized 24 activist lawyers in Washington to support The Encampment to Stop the War.

Singer–Songwriter Anne Feeney entertained the organizers with a lively rendition of “Let Their Heads Roll”
(Axis of Logic Photo)

Code Pink, DC Anti-war Network, After Downing Street, FIST (Fight Imperialism Stand Together) and the SDS were among the organizations that came to the Encampment on the first day to voice their demand that the Congress defund the war.

Some of the activist workers who helped build the encampment stand in front of the banner. -Axis of Logic Photo

In our 4 p.m. press conference Larry Holmes, Vietnam War Veteran and Dustin Langley a Veteran of the U.S. Navy took questions from the press. They addressed the Democrats’ “solution” to the 4 year slaughter in Iraq. Bringing the troops home in 2008 after another 18 months of death and misery is not an anti-war vote. It is in every respect a vote for more war. Holmes and Langley told the press that the Democrats' claim to support the troops by funding more war is ludicrous on it’s face and everyone in this country an around the world knows it. Their claim that they must continue the war to save Iraqis from themselves is an ultimate insult against the people of Iraq and against the intelligence of any thinking, honest person. The claim that their hands are tied, leaving them powerless to end the war now is a lie. If congress were truly against the war, they have the power to shut the government down if necessary to stop the bloodshed. People are camped out on the Washington Mall tonight to declare that we will not tolerate any more obfuscation, deceit and rhetoric. The genocide being visited upon the people of Iraq must stop – not in 2008 – but now.

By the end of Day 1 everyone experienced that wonderful fatigue of work well done - exhibited so well here by Walter Williams.

Actions are planned by the campers throughout this week and continuing. The Troops Out Now Coalition plans to continue the Encampment until the Congress votes on the war fund. Join us this week as we occupy the Washington Mall – the People’s Mall - to raise our voices at the Encampment Against the War!

© Copyright 2007 by

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