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Baltimore to Washington DC Anti-War March

Anti-war protesters marched from Baltimore to Washington DC over a period of three days, stopping in Jessup and University Park, to protest the effects of the war on Iraq on the poor and working class. More than 100 participated in the April 26-28 march. The protest was organized by the Baltimore Anti-War Coordinating Committee.
Day One. In the cold, pouring rain, 80 activists gathered at 8:00am April 26 at the Washington Monument in Baltimore to launch the "The Cost of War is Paid by the Poor" march. The march worked its way to Pratt Street, Wilkens Avenue, and Washington Boulevard traveling south on Route 1 with its April 28 destination Washington DC. 50 marchers proceeded on Route 1 through Baltimore County into Howard County where they stopped at Routes 1 and 175 in the Jessup area.

The march was escorted by police officers from the three local governments. Lunch and dinner stops were made at local churches. In Jessup members of the Howard Country Peace Coalition showed solidarity by hosting the marchers overnight and sponsoring a morale-building evening of food, discussion and song.

Day Two of the march (April 27) started in gorgeous weather and high spirits. New marchers joined as the group continuted down Route 1, singing peace and freedom songs and waving banners. Upon entering Prince Georges Country midday, police first discontinued escort vehicles then warned the march from using the street. The march was forced to continue along sidewalks and shoulders, sometimes dangerously close to high speed traffic. Passing vehicles expressed both approval and rejection of the march and its goals, split nearly perfectly along the color line. Despite the difficult conditions and intense sunlight, the march entered the College Park area with light hearts and loud voices, where they were met with an overflow of support from area residents. After a dinner donated by a local café, the marchers shared on evening of poetry-reading and performance with local supporters.


Participants included Vietnam-era peace activists, students, citizens of conscience from the MD suburbs and DC peace advocates, including a Buddhist nun whose drumming pounds out the heartbeat of the march. While the majority of marchers were from Maryland and DC, others came from New Jersey, Pennsylvania and California, united in protest of war, occupation and military overspending in face of urgent social needs.

Day three. The march left Monday morning (April 28) at 8:00am from University Park Church of the Brethren in route to the White House. The numbers, as marchers traveled through Washington DC, increased to 70-80.

In poor and working class neighborhoods of the capital of the United States, the protesters handed out leaflets making the point that the war in Iraq is paid for by the poor and working class. Some statistics:

* 47% of the federal budget goes to military spending
* 34% of the federal budget goes to social needs like education, housing, and welfare
* the Iraq war is estimated to cost the state of Maryland $1.74 billion, Baltimore $122.5 million, Howard County $112.4 million, Montgomery County $112.4 million.


But where could federal tax money go, the protesters asked? They pointed out it could go to fix Baltimore's devasted schools, provide subsidies for low-income families across the state of Maryland, repair infrastructure, and modernize Washington DC's schools. According to the Government Accounting Office, $6.5 billion is needed to meet rising enrollment, hire teachers, and develop educational technologies in DC.

But rather than meet social needs, say the participants in the march, the Bush administration chooses to extend imperial boundaries while sending related tax money to military contractors like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Bechtel, and Haliburton.

The marchers broke for lunch in Logan Circle, where Food Not Bombs made lunch for all participants. Under cooling shade, everyone prepared for the last destination of the march, the White House.

Coming down 16th Street, the demonstration flowed into Lafayette Square with banners high in the air to the applause of members of Iraq Pledge of Resistance. Now about 70 people gathered at the South end of the Park, directly in front of the White House. Members of the group spoke out to a crowd of tourists, students, and workers who stopped and took leaflets, or just listened to various speakers talk about their reasons for the being in the march.

The onlookers, some of them staying for ten minutes or more were most captivated by the Radical Cheerleaders, whose anti-Bush, anti-war and anti-capitalist cheers and choreography had a crowd of high school students laughing and clapping.


The march ended when the weary marchers said their last goodbyes and started their journeys home, this time by car, bus or train.

See the march website: .

See coverage by Pacifica's Peace Watch:

See also the article by Scott Loughrey in the Baltimore Chronicle:

See also the article by Manny Fernandez in the Washington Post:

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