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LOCAL Commentary :: Peace & War : Protest Activity

My time in DC

My trip to Washington DC to join a tremendous number of my countrymen in a demonstration against the war in Iraq on Saturday, September 24th, 2005.

When I arrived in Washington, DC, I as greeted by a sea of humanity that I couldn't even begin to wrap my head around. The area around the Washington Monument was so packed with people it was hard to even begin to ge a grasp on how packed it was.

Eventually, I met up with some folks from Richmond - the Defenders,

and the Virginia Anti-War Network.

There was not much to do, so:

Some music was played.


Eventually, almost two hours late, the march started. Apparently, the speakers at the main stage ran over, but since we were crammed cheek-to-jowl on 15th and Constitution, there wasn't much we could do about it.

I saw some creativity,

Some respect for tradition,

The beautiful sight of demonstrators pouring past the White House (un-occupied - the President was away in Colorado),

Acts of civil disobedience,

Some of the largest and best-organized groups, who were calling cadence as they marched through the streets of Washington, DC,

Counter-demonstrators,

And the reason they hid behind police lines.

Eventually, the march ended - a lot of very tired people made it to the concert site, where organizers for other actions were working,

Some of the larger organizations had tents set up,

and there was a gigantic stage and sound system set up,

with huge displays on either side of the stage. And yes, that is Cindy Sheehan on the monitor - I had arrived there just in time to watch the chief of the Oglala Sioux tribe of Pine Ridge present a star quilt - a mark of courage - to her. Funny thing is, there is, apparently, no coverage of what has to be one of the more emotionally charged parts of the day...
See This article for more on star quilts.


The final insult came when it was time to go home. Apparently, the DC Metro had scheduled track maintenance for that day - causing 20-40 minute delays in getting back to northern Virginia. We will likely never know why they chose this day - of all days - to severely reduce the capacity of the Metro system.

All in all, it was a good day's event. More than a little disorganized, at least in the beginning, but I think that is because of the massive number of people who showed up. My off-the-cuff guess is that it was double the number of people who were there in the demonstrations in 2003.

 
 


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