Protesters take foot in St. Paul
By Amy Mayron
Pioneer Press March 23, 2003
On a nice day for a protest, thousands marched Saturday on a sunny three-mile route through St. Paul neighborhoods carrying signs and shouting chants opposing the war in Iraq.
St. Paul police estimated between 5,000 and 10,000 people stretched along the streets as they walked from Macalester College at Snelling and Grand avenues east along Summit past all the mansions, turning down Victoria Street and then back along Grand Avenue. The crowd spanned the width of Grand Avenue and was nearly one-mile long.
The Minnesota march was one of many Saturday across the nation and world. More than 120,000 turned out in New York City, more than 100,000 in London and thousands continued to protest in San Francisco despite a bevy of arrests in the past two days. Thousands also gathered in several cities, including at the Capitol in St. Paul, to show their support for the war and the military.
St. Paul police scrambled to stay a block or two ahead of the anti-war march and keep traffic out of its way. There were no problems or arrests during the two-hour march, said Assistant Police Chief Richard Gardell. It ended with a rally at Macalester.
Protesters marching in temperatures that neared 60 degrees included children and grandparents. There were plenty of dogs, and by the end of the long route, many of their owners were carrying them in their arms. One dog wore a sign that read "Drop Treats, Not Bombs."
At the same time protesters shouted chants such as "Make peace, not war, hands off Iraq," buildings continued to burn after a fresh barrage of bombs Saturday in Baghdad.
It did not deter anti-war sentiment, but made objectors more determined.
"Our message needs to be spoken louder and louder every day," said Brigid McDonald of Minneapolis, carrying a yellow sign that read "Women Against Military Madness." "War is not the means to peace any more than drinking is the means to sobriety."
Other groups participating included the American Indian Movement, labor groups, University of Minnesota Students Against War, Veterans for Peace and the Women's Political Alliance.
Alex McKinney of St. Anthony said he was an uncle concerned for his niece and nephew, both serving in the Marines in Kuwait. He raised them after their mother died and is proud of their accomplishments. His nephew is a captain and his niece is a lance corporal.
But he said he does not believe in the war and wants them to come home soon and unharmed. He carried a sign that read "Wage Peace."
"I support the troops," he said. "But at the same time, I want to express my opinion about the country's policies."
Larry Demark of St. Paul said he believed it was crucial for people to speak out against the war, even though it had already begun and he wasn't feeling particularly confident about its end.
"I don't have a heck of a lot of hope right now," he said. "But at least we're out making a statement and showing the world that we're not all behind President Bush."
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