On February 14, 2003 at noon, citizens gathered in the Plaza on North Main in Ashland, Oregon to mobilize for peace, in opposition to the Bush administration's push to escalate the 12-year long war on Iraq. The demonstration, which did not have any central organization or sponsorship, drew at least 100 people.
The event began with a speech detailing the Bush administration's reprehensible track record. Free food was served by Food Not Bombs. Demonstrators sang, danced, drummed, played guitar, and read poetry for peace. Signs with messages in opposition to the war were hung from various trees in the plaza, while others voiced their opinions with sidewalk chalk.
Later in the afternoon, around 12 militant demonstrators vented their frustration by burning an American flag and an effigy of President Bush, followed by a march down North Main and East Main that finally
returned to the Plaza. The marchers chanted "Whose streets? Our streets!" The march was trailed by police in trucks and on foot but the situation remained peaceful.
In addition to the demonstration, a tree-sit in Lithia Park continued for the second day in a row to protest the war in Iraq. The tree-sitters are on a hunger strike indefinitely.
The demonstration was held on "V-Day", a celebration of women's liberation and independence (the "v" stands for vagina), coinciding with The Vagina Monologues in an effort to undermine the dominant culture's acquiesence to consumerism in the celebration of Valentine's Day.
The demonstration will be followed by a march from Ashland, to a rally on February 15th at Alba Park in Medford.