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actions & protests | imperialism & war s24 mobilization

More Cheers Than Jeers

On Saturday, September 24th, a group of about 40 citizens gathered at the Chamber of Commerce office in St. Helens. 40 people in this small town, miles outside of the metropolitan area, cared enough to take a stand. They turned out to protest the war in Iraq and ask that our troops be brought home. Compared to the turnout in larger, more cosmopolitan cities 40 may not seem like a lot. In St. Helens, however, there are few activities that draw such a large crowd, and those are more likely to be high school sporting events than political rallies.
On Tuesday, September 26, 2005 a second demonstration was held in South Columbia County. People of all ages and backgrounds gathered together at the Totem Pole in Scappoose to make a statement. The number changed as demonstrators came and left, devoting time as they could. Some stopped in before hurrying home to fix dinner for their families, some arrived directly after work, all demonstrated their commitment to ending the war in Iraq.

Children played on the lawn, dogs waited patiently beside their masters. Professional business people stood on the curb with Mothers Against the War, retirees, and teenagers experiencing democracy in action for the first time. Upwards of 35 people, holding up signs protesting the war in Iraq, were there to remind commuters that peace is not a dirty word. And the message appeared to be receiving growing support among commuters, more than at past demonstrations.

Perhaps the public is finally seeing the man behind the curtain. Maybe the peace signs, thumbs up and horns honking in support of the protesters are an indication that the tide is finally turning. Certainly there were also middle finger salutes, shouted insults and grimly disapproving tight-lipped faces in some of the cars passing by, but this time they were not the majority. This time there were more people in support than there were detractors. This time there were smiles, waves, and a feeling that there is hope for the future.

As the group began to dissolve there was talk of making these demonstrations a regular event, whether weekly or monthly, to build on success. One participant was heard to say that "I feel like I'm finally the prom queen."

phone: phone: 503-397-3517

Great! 27.Sep.2005 10:56

Thanks for the report!

I live in St Helens, and am very happy to read this. I was not at either of these demonstrations, but I would have been there if I had known about them. Great to hear that so many people showed up for this (35 people standing along the highway in little Scappoose!), and great to know that I am not alone.

I've heard of a lot of organizing going on out in small town areas and rural areas, and I'm pleased by this.

Cool! 27.Sep.2005 12:44

Also from St Helens

I didn't see the signs for the demo until today, as I was going past the railroad tracks and noticed a flyer on a post out there. Thanks to the people who participated! If I had known, I would have attended.

Scappoose and St Helens and Estacada too... 27.Sep.2005 18:02

Impressed

I guess the whole world is becoming "little beirut" now. Where will the emperor go now for photo ops?

tubular 13.Apr.2006 19:12

tin pan

Congrats to everyone who stood with us. That includes all canines in attendance, their nonpartisan, unconditional support for their owners message of peace was a spectacular example to set for animals and humans alike. The tables are turning thanks to these demonstrations held all over. Change is inevitable even when the steps preceding are baby sized.

st.helens '03 represent!