Today, about 150 people gathered in Terry Schrunk Plaza for a rally called "THE CHOICE IS OURS: WAR IN SPACE OR PEACE ON EARTH". Portland Peaceful Response Coalition organizers brought the big pile of colorful NO WAR signs that everyone's been seeing everywhere lately. The rally featured music and speakers on the topic of peace and the weaponization of space.
Reception from drivers was overwhelmingly positive, with negative comments (or gestures) outnumbered by a ratio of at least two dozen to one. This is an amazing difference from the climate six to ten months ago, when peace protests garnered more or less equal negativity and positivity, with the majority making no comment. Now the number of people being negative or silent has fallen, and more people are supportful all the time. This country is not in favor of this war.
Activists chalked messages on the sidewalks, streets, and other places. The security guard at the Federal Building, pictured above, told the artist of this statement that chalking on the barriers wouldn't be allowed "today". "Not today, huh?" the activist asked, while he finished the "R". "Nope," said the guard, who was not playing up his authority. With smiles they parted. Interesting exchange.
The crowd marched through downtown, with most participants sticking to the sidewalk for this permitted event.
Representatives of faith communities were in attendance, and one woman spoke of the importance of all churches opposing war.
The sky was clear and the air a bit crisp but not chilly. A beautiful day. As if someone approved of the pleas for peace and wanted to give them a space to thrive.
The Raging Grannies (yay!) sang at the Plaza when the march looped back.
This was not the largest event, but what is vital right now is that we get out into public with anti-war messages as often as possible in as many places as we can. Every weekend here in Portland should be marked by an peace protest of some type, whether it's a march, a high-visibility leafletting campaign, or an act of civil disobedience. Congress has given war powers to Bush despite the thousands of letters, emails and calls that its members received. Now we must rouse our fellow residents to rise up against this madness and demand an end to it. Remember -- the fascists in charge have a lot of power and money, but there's more of us than them. That's why they fear us and try to beat us down. Because they know we can win.