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100,000 in New York March Against the War
From the Singtao Daily,
February 16, 2003

Even with the scent of Valentine's Day roses still in the air, we already hear the thunder of dark clouds forming over the Middle East. Yesterday, nearly 100,000 people descended upon the streets of Manhattan with chants of "We Want Roses, Not Guns!", joining millions of other peace-loving protesters around the world. From the New York Public Library to First Avenue, from 42nd Street to 70th Street uptown, individuals of all shades of skin, of all tongues, clamored for world peace.

Demonstrators on the streets and the sidewalks packed twenty blocks of First Avenue by the United Nations. When South African archbishop Desmond Tutu's image appeared in the gigantic screen set up in the middle of the crowd, just before he began to address them, the resulting outpour shook the heavens.

Yesterday's anti-war march in New York was part of a coordinated protest across hundreds of cities worldwide. The frigid temperatures and snowfall that preceded the event did not in any way quell the enthusiasm of the participants, a group encompassing students, war veterans, young parents with infants, senior citizens clinging to each other for support, and others. They came into the city from every possible direction with their placards to congregate on the east side of Midtown.

Some with posters of "Don't Trade Blood for Oil" or "We Want Education, Not War", others with humorous plaster busts of George W. Bush, they all found original ways to show their love for peace.

Among the marchers was an especially noticeable Vietnam War veteran seated in a wheelchair, whose two missing legs alone spoke volumes on the effects of war. Native American participants decked in traditional dress performed exorcising dances to cast out the demon of war.

Chinese Anti-War Demonstrators

Members of the Boston Chinese Progress Society rushed down to the city to participate in the event. Lei Pengfei, who arrived with the group, recalled the enormous suffering a neighboring family underwent when one of its members died in the Vietnam War: "At that time, I was
still in high school. The boy who died was a classmate of my elder sister's, and was only 19 years old." 49-year old Lei is now a high school teacher. "I came here today to do all that I can to prevent
such tragedies from arising again. Of course, even if war were to eventually break out, I would be certain to tell my students that peace is the only future that this world should know," he added.

Ni Huiru, who came down to New York with a group from upstate, is the founder of the Rockland County Peace Network. She initiated the network on November 23rd last year specifically to give a voice to those in her area who were opposed to war. Every Saturday afternoon since its inception, the group has met for two hour demonstrations throughout Rockland County. "Were the war to start, we would still gather every Saturday until the fighting ended to protest against it," she said.

Zhong Chaoyin and Chuan Qiuju, who came to the United.States from Hong Kong in 1993, also showed up at yesterday's rally. "Many Chinese think of the Middle East as a far-off region having very little to do with us. Some feel that as new immigrants, we should focus upon our own daily affairs, and forget other matters; however, since we came here to stay, our future and the future of this nation are one and the same. In addition, we Chinese have been peace-lovers all along, so why shouldn't we stand out here and voice ourselves?" said Zhong.

Police officers came out en masse, forming walls at every major intersection in the Midtown area. Because the crowd was so thick around the United Nations and the police forbid marchers from entering First Avenue, many were irritated

Translated from Chinese by Kelvin Wu.

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