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RICHMOND RECLAIMED: Over 2,000 People Proclaim: Virginia is Against the War!

As reports from different people are published here on Richmond Indymedia, it’s necessary for us to revise our initial inaccurately low crowd estimate of 1,800 and put the estimated amount of people in the streets of Richmond Sunday March 23 at well over 2,000 if not 3,000. However, some witnesses argue the march was larger still, consisting of about 4,000 people [ 1, 2 ], including a Richmond Times-Dispatch reporter days later on Friday, March 28th, in a related story about the upcoming Critical Mass. Either way, even the lowest estimates are unprecedented protest figures for this sleepy southern town, comprising a huge victory for all those who attended.

Along with official counts, news from March 23 also includes the somewhat controversial snake march that occurred after the permitted one ended. Virginia residents have expressed a wide spectrum of views on this event [ 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 ] including an article by one person involved in smashing the windows of the national guard recruiting office on Broad Street explaining their actions. In an excellent indictment of corporate media’s biased portrayal of Sunday's events, one Richmond participant put out the call for all those involved and concerned to respond to such manipulative and inaccurate news-mongering.
Several grassroots accounts of Sunday’s events have been published [ 1, 2, 3 ] , including a debriefing by the organizers of the RECLAIM conference, as well as tons of photos [ 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 ], though in regards to the photo articles, we must point out that for some reason our thumbnail feature is not working properly, so even though you may see red x's where small versions of linked photos should be, there are indeed -- we promise -- actually photos there, so click away and enjoy.

One of the most comprehensive reports is by IMC reporter Luther Blissett, which included the following account of the end of the permitted march and the beginning of the snake march:

...the 4,000-strong march proceeded back down Monument Ave to Monroe Park, chanting "Good for the rich, bad for the poor, we don't want your racist war" and more. The mood was festive and defiant, with many in the crowd vowing to each other to begin organizing an even bigger march and more disruptive actions in the future. Drums were beating, Christians and Jews were marching in solidarity with Muslims, anarchists and communists chanted with union members, homeless folks and soccer moms; "this is a HUGE success," beamed longtime Catholic Worker Sue Frankle-Streit.

As many of the marchers filtered back into Monroe Park for a candlelit vigil led by the Women In Black, a large chunk of the crowd refused to leave the streets. As the legal protest permit expired, 700 were still milling about in confusion on Franklin Street, when individuals began shouting "disruption stops wars!" and "stay in the streets!" The shouts and chants rose to a fevered pitch, and suddenly the crowd surged and began running towards downtown.

"Everything went up a notch, basically," says IMC reporter Jen Lawhorne about the splinter march, where enthusiasm and defiance rose markedly higher. Young and old, all races and backgrounds were united in disobedience together, shutting down the streets of Richmond for over two hours. Shouts of "this is what stops wars!" and "don't let them have business as usual!" were heard between booming chants of "We *will* stop this war!" while the crowd attempted to evade riot police and make it's way to the Richmond Time Dispatch....

We hope your stories, pictures, and opinions will continue to pour in, providing what it is Richmond Indymedia exists for – your views and your news. Even though our comments feature does not work, don't let that stop you from publishing your story yourself, and contributing to us all having a better understanding of this war and our opposition to it.



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