[R-G] 5,000 Protest War In Palo Alto
DavidMcR at aol.com
DavidMcR at aol.com
Sun Feb 2 22:35:43 MST 2003
In a message dated 2/2/03 8:43:29 PM Eastern Standard Time, lvpsf at igc.org
<< Posted on Sun, Feb. 02, 2003
Anti-war protest rally held in Palo Alto style
DIVERSE TURNOUT REFLECTS VARIED SUPPORT FOR
By Nicole C. Wong
About 5,000 anti-war protesters from cities along the Peninsula crowded
onto Palo Alto's City Hall Plaza on Saturday afternoon, making the rally
against invading Iraq one of the Peninsula's largest demonstrations ever.
But despite its formidable size, the rally was rather whimsical. People
carried balloon animals twisted into circular peace signs. Children
scribbled peace slogans on the pavement with chalk. And a choir of two
dozen elderly women wearing sunbonnets crowned with brightly colored
crepe-paper flowers belted out ``Make Peace Instead of War'' to the tune of
``When the Saints Come Marching In,'' accompanied by an accordion and a
frying pan used as a tambourine.
The suburban rally had a diverse turnout, indicating anti-war sentiment is
resonating with an audience much broader than activists living in large
On the sunny but windy afternoon, demonstrators from Woodside, Mountain
View and San Mateo arrived with walkers, strollers and Razor scooters.
They sported stylish two-piece suits, tie-dyed T-shirts, designer
sunglasses, hijabs and cowboy hats.
That wide array of ages, lifestyles and personal beliefs was evident
throughout the crush of bodies, which protest organizers and Palo Alto
police officers estimated at 4,500 to 5,000.
``When you see this number of people turn out in smaller towns, it really
speaks to the level of opposition in this country,'' said Paul George,
director of the Peninsula Peace and Justice Center and organizer of the
rally. ``It's not a radical fringe element. It's America that opposes this
war. If you looked around this crowd today, you would see a reflection of
And this rally was oh-so-Peninsula.
An organic espresso bus parked cater-cornered from the plaza sold several
hundred cups of organic macchiatos, lattes and cappuccinos made with soy
Despite the frills and good cheer, there were serious messages.
Signs bobbing up and down in the crowd included ``Drop Bush, not bombs''
and ``Blessed are the peacemakers -- Jesus.''
The demonstrators took their messages on a march around two blocks of
downtown. Police closed Bryant and Waverley streets and University and
Hamilton avenues for about half an hour as the activists went on their walk.
Some of the participants haven't attended a demonstration for decades.
Palo Alto neighbors Marcia Croft and Margaret Schmidt, both in their late
50s, said they haven't done this since college.
``We're sort of getting to the age where we want to support causes rather
than stand on the side,'' said Croft, who attended rallies during the civil
Schmidt, who protested the Vietnam War, said they have been too busy
raising children. But now they have time to focus on the ``unsettling''
situation at hand.
``We're especially concerned Bush's policy is not including the rest of the
world,'' Schmidt said. ``He is choosing to stand alone. That is
particularly unsettling. We should not in any situation think we are above
the world and the world's opinion. That's what the United Nations is for.''
Others came out to support their own causes.
Ronna Devincenzi of Palo Alto carried an anti-abortion sign. And to the
side of the plaza, a big blue-and-white banner declared: ``Palestinians and
Jews listening in dialogue.''
Vera Clydesdale, 50 of Mountain View, held a sign quoting Mohandas Gandhi:
``The most violent weapon on Earth is the table fork. Go vegan.''
``I am against killing -- killing in any sense,'' she said.
IF YOU'RE INTERESTED
Anti-war activists plan more demonstrations for the coming weeks, in San
Jose on Feb. 15 and in San Francisco on Feb. 16.
More information about the Rad-Green