Sunday, February 11, 2007

West Enders Join in D.C. Anti-War Protest

A small crowd gathered in near sub-zero temperatures at 8pm on Friday January 26th at the parking lot on Marginal Way to send off a two buses filled with over a hundred protesters joining an anti-Iraq war protest to be held the following day in Washington.

In addition to the two buses from Portland, three buses also left from Bangor. The buses were organized by members of Peace Action Maine. The protesters traveled south through the night and with very little sleep, arrived just outside of Washington D.C. early Saturday morning.

Cheryl Lynn Davis of Spring Street rode the D.C. Metro to the national mall with an armful of signs in tow.
“I’m here just to make a difference,” said Davis, a veteran of anti-war protests. “The power of all of us who are here will make a difference.”

The group from Portland joined what they estimated were five hundred thousand protesters from all over the country to rally on national mall in bright sun and fifty-degree temperatures. The mood of the crowd was upbeat and there was a cautious optimism that the Democrats now in the majority might get the U.S. out of the war in Iraq if their feet were held to the fire.

The calls of the throngs were for immediate troop removal from Iraq and Afghanistan. Some protesters chanted “No war on Iran,” anticipating that a run -up to a U.S. military conflict with Iran was now underway.

The crowds listened to a slate of celebrity speakers like Jesse Jackson and Sean Penn, who spoke against the war before marching on the streets of the Capitol. The peaceful marchers then lined up and waited two hours to begin a march that circled the Capitol building. Some protesters reported having been stopped by police so as to let President Bush’s motorcade pass.

At 5pm, all of the sleep-deprived protesters from Portland re-boarded their buses to make the 10-hour trip back home. On the ride home they spoke of plans to attend the next march on the Pentagon, to be held on March 17th, the day that marks the fourth anniversary of the U.S. invasion on Iraq.


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