- The Washington Times - Monday, October 1, 2001

Hundreds of anti-war protesters quietly concluded their weekend of marches and demonstrations in the District yesterday as they urged President Bush not to use military retaliation for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon.
Carrying signs that read "Vision not Violence" and "Peace without Revenge," the protesters said they want the United States to rethink its foreign policy, which some protesters claim may have brought about the attacks.
Using military retaliation, they say, could heighten the threat of terrorism and kill hundreds of other innocent people in foreign countries, including Afghanistan.
"Continuing violence is going to make it worse," said Daisy Pitkin of Northwest. "The country should have a deep analysis of its foreign policy instead of perpetuating the cycle of violence."
Miss Pitkin's friend Kelli Olson agreed. "We as citizens should think critically about why these attacks happened in the first place," she said before the march yesterday morning. "It's time to create a new way of thinking."
Backed by two groups called the Washington Peace Center and the American Friends Services Committee, the protesters began their march with a rally at the Meridian Hill Park in Adams Morgan, where they prayed for peace in the world.
From there, carrying signs promoting peace, they marched through Dupont Circle and then to Sheridan Circle before heading back to the park, where they concluded their event by praying for the more than 6,500 people killed in the terrorist attacks.
Yesterday's march was much smaller and quieter than the one on Saturday, when some 4,500 protesters marched on the U.S. Capitol and 11 of an estimated 900 demonstrators with the Anti-Capitalist Convergence, a local anarchist group, were arrested for scuffling with police.
The protesters with the anarchist group repeatedly tried to break police lines as they marched Saturday morning from Union Station to the World Bank headquarters at 18th and H streets in Northwest. Police said the group did not have protest permits.
It was far different yesterday. The anti-war protesters met little resistance as they rallied at the Meridian Hill Park. But at one point, Vietnam War veteran Lou Santucci approached the foot of the stage and held up a sign that read, "Osama [bin Laden] thanks fellow cowards for your support." The anti-war protesters didn't pay any attention to him.
When reporters asked Mr. Santucci to explain his message, he said the anti-war demonstrators, by attending the rally and the march, were sending a message of support to bin Laden and other terrorists.
"The message that these people are sending is that they're against the United States," Mr. Santucci told reporters. "You can't react to this by sitting here and doing nothing. You've got to meet force with force."
Some of the protesters defended their decisions to participate in the rally. "We're not here because we're anti-American," said Joanne Giorgio, who traveled to the District from Massachusetts. "We're here for justice."
Most of those who attended the rally said they wanted the United States to bring those responsible for the attacks to justice, but not by bombing and killing innocent people.
"We want everyone to feel safe and peaceful regardless where they live," said a woman who identified herself as Beach Clown of Arlington as she watched several children play in the park after the rally. "We want Afghani children to play like this. If you kill their parents, who will love them?"
Her friend from West Virginia agreed. "Violence won't bring back those who died in the attacks. It's in their names that we want to promote peace," he said.
The government should strike a balance between collateral damage and diplomacy, others said. "You don't want to kill one person who's selling bread on the street," said Joey Birch, of Sterling. "But you also don't want more terrorists threatening our safety."
Other protesters said it is time for the country to find "more peaceful ways of retaliating."
"People in Afghanistan have suffered so much already," said Mollie Byron of Northwest. "Why should we be totally bloodthirsty?"

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