Martin Sheen leads protest on
streets of LA
[South News - 1/12/2003] Martin Sheen led protesters against a war with Iraq
on to the streets of Los Angeles at the weekend in
the largest peace demonstration in the city since the
The actor marched at the front of the parade pushing
in a wheelchair Ron Kovic, a paralysed Vietnam
veteran and peace activist. Slash, the former lead
guitarist of Guns n Roses, the singer-songwriter
Jackson Browne, and Maxine Waters, a Democratic Los
Angeles congresswoman marched with them.
Mr Kovic, whose autobiography, Born on the Fourth of
July, was made into a film starring Tom Cruise, told
the crowd that the US Government was leading the
country into a situation that can only hurt us as a
nation. He added: We love this country. Thats why
were here. This is about democracy and were against
Mr Kovic said that the Los Angeles protest, which
will be followed by marches in Washington and San
Francisco next weekend, would lead to one of the
greatest anti-war movements in the history of the
Movie star leads thousands in anti-war rally
AFP - January 13 2003:
US movie star Martin Sheen has led thousands of
people in a rowdy protest march in Los Angeles
against US President George Bush's plans for a
possible war with Iraq.
Sheen, who plays a fictional US president on the hit
television show The West Wing, called for Americans
to fight for a peaceful approach to the Washington
administration's crisis centring on Iraqi leader
"A lot of people have been silenced for a long time
but that is ending," he said.
"We are telling the world that we are patriotic
Americans but we do not support going to war with
"From this time forth, may all our thoughts and deeds
be a non-violent response to violence," he told the
Police sources said that up to 5000 demonstrators
chanting "no blood for oil" and "stop Bush now", took
part in a protest march and a rally in front of
government buildings in the west coast city's centre.
Sheen, a veteran anti-nuclear campaigner who was the
main speaker at the rally, has been one of the most
vociferous opponents in Hollywood to Washington's
policy toward Iraq.
Sheen pushed the wheelchair of celebrated Vietnam War
veteran Ron Kovic, whose story was featured in the
movie Born on the Fourth of July, and who also spoke
to the crowd.
"The government is leading us into a situation that
can only hurt us as a nation," Kovic said.
The protest was noisy but peaceful with performances
by musicians including Jackson Browne and Slash from
the heavy rock group Guns 'N' Roses. No arrests were
The protest, which had been billed as the largest
anti-war protest in Los Angeles since the Vietnam
War, is to be followed by a demonstration in San
Francisco next weekend.
The demonstration came as the Bush Administration
steps up its military build-up in the Middle East in
response to what officials said are Iraq's alleged
efforts to manufacture weapons of mass destruction.
US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had ordered
about 62,000 US troops to head for the Persian Gulf
region in coming days, doubling the size of the force
now arrayed on the periphery of Iraq, a senior US
United Nations inspectors have said they have not
found a "smoking gun" pointing to any outlawed Iraqi
weapons programmes, but charge that Baghdad has not
co-operated fully with weapons inspectors.
Last month, a group of Hollywood stars including Kim
Basinger, Matt Damon, Anjelica Huston and Martin
Sheen were among scores of celebrities who called on
the administration not to go to war with Iraq.
That followed a string of star-studded protests and
petitions against a possible war signed by some of
Hollywood's brightest stars.
See also MARCH ON WASHINGTON January 18, 2003