|Peacemakers On The Scene|
Not In Our Name Protest, Cincinnati - 03/20/2003
This protest was organized over the Internet by MoveOn. It was set to occur the day after the war started. It was only one of the thousands that were planned to go if in the event that Bush took us to war in his dispicable pre-emptive strike against Iraq which has now added our country to the list of despotic countires who have preceeded us in history with such actions.
I had to take the bus to down and did not arrive at the protest until 5:30PM. It was well underway by this time. I got off the bus at 6th and Walnut just past the Federal building where the protest was to take place and joined the crowd that was circling the Federal building.
There was a mass of people back down 6th street east and down Walnut south towards 5th street. I was heading down Walnut toward 5th street with the protest group and when I got down to 5th street I saw Jon Blickenstaff standing on the corner with Ellie. He was waiting there for Angie to show up. As we stood there the mass of protesters just kept coming, very vocal and upbeat. Almost all had signs protesting the war and there were many students from the University of Cincinnati, some with horns, chanting anti-war slogans and waving their banners and signs.
Angie showed up within a few minutes and we merged ourselves into the mass of protesters and proceeded walking around the Federal building. There were a lot of folks walking around this block so the going was slow. By the time we got around the block and back to 5th and Walnut the leading element of the walkers were heading west up 5th street toward fountain square dragging the rest of us with them.
As I looked ahead all I saw was protesters, when I looked back, the same. It is always difficult to know how many people actually showed up but I would guess at least 1,000 and perhaps three times that many. I was astounded at the response from passing cars. Hardly a minute went by when people were honking their horms and waving the victory sign at us. It was great!
The only incident of civil disobedience was when a group of the protesters, maybe 25 to 50, blocked the cross walk on 5th street between the Fountain and the Westin hotel. To their credit the police officers demonstrated great patience with this action. After about ten minutes they were able to get all but two people to leave but had to forcibly remove them from the middle of the street when they failed to leave voluntarily. It appeared to me that they did arrest them.
The protest continued on gradually dimishing in numbers until 7:00PM when I found myself alone on the Fountain except for three mounted police who kept me company until about 7:45PM when they trotted off leaving me alone with my inner thoughts about the events of the day.
Peacehq reporting - 03/20/2003