Saturday in DC -- by Mary Titus

I went with my brother from Rockland county with a church group (Quakers?) I'd never heard of called FOR (Fellowship of Redemption) a pre WWI peace group. Some high school age kids were with ANSWER and some kids had formed their own peace groups. There was a short orientation at a private school Friday night and the high school age kids seemed outnumbered in their classes (affluent white neighborhoods) by indifferent kids who didn't care about political issues. There were just under 100 on these 2 buses and bus driver said on return trip DC had 300 buses.
We left early and got there around noon. Weather cleared up and wasn't too cold. Warmed up enough to carry my coat. I had on legitgov T-shirt (worked as good as a sign) and an over-the head Statue of Liberty mask. I'd cut white tape to make tears on the mask.

I guess 100,000 is good figure - could be 150,000. Too crowded for me to count or guess... but less than the giant anti-nuke rally in Central Park back in 85 or so. Still a great turn out. Wasn't the 1/2-1 million people because so many cities had marches. Noticed many many Wellstone signs (homemade) right away. Most signs & art homemade with smattering of ANSWER pre-done signs and printed out signs. Some large signs just on grocery store cardboard with simple messages --- but as big as anyone could manage to carry.

Odd thing ... a low low (for DC) police presence compared to anti-IMF a.16 event I was at. No riot police in turtle outfits but many police on the perimeter with radios. I think this is because of the recent sniper story ... and lack of overtime funds for DC police. Many, many radio equipped non-protesters Awkward as they were fed. employees wearing kaki dockers and corp. casual wear that made them stand out. Little FBI style communications wire running from the edge of their sunglasses (also FBI style). Didn't fool anyone. Speeches under way when we arrived. Lots of buttons & books for sale. Mall in front of Wash. Monument all filled up so we waited for march to begin under some trees on the edges. Edges all filled with new arrivals and weren't visible from aerial photos - so amount of people about double what would show out in the open. Our bus was organized into small groups so each group had one person with a cell phone to get back to the bus on time. I was in a foursome. Many many people took my picture with the mask on and the T-shirt.

Lots of signs did not mince words blaming Bush for 9-11. Also most signs against war were to effect of "No Blood for Oil" - demonstrating people knew motive for war action. I liked "Drop Bush Not Bombs" and "F*ck Bush"-- many groups against war such as "Gays Against War" or "Moms Against War". Lots of black people in groups and singly with signs. Some for Mumia and some generically against war. Many Muslims in contemporary & robed dress. A black guy had great T-shirts he was selling "Agitated Agitator Agitating" - good for all causes. Many kids, families. Striking how many non-demonstration types that were there. Baby Buggies etc. A group dressed up in business suits - a bit like "Billionaires for Bush" - but they had roundly paper mache` heads with little hats on top and slits for eyes. Mock "Wall Streeters" - about 15 and they walked in formation. But they had white gloves with big red blood smear on the hands.

Also saw large group of peace-Koreans in traditional dress performing with drums. They want US troops out of south Korea. Got a flyer from a Filipino man - his was concern over US troops now building up in Philippines. I feel these groups are all aware of one another and making important connections.

Better chants too in this crowd. As march started and went on and on people sang the "Ole" song from soccer. It went "Ole Ole Oleeeeeee - Ole Noooo Waaaar" - nice sound to it as thousands did it and the stone buildings made it resonate. So many in costumes and with props - I saw another statue of liberty lady with entire green outfit. Noticed too the DC police on bicycles (many) had bikes made by Smith & Wesson.

Bet those bikes weigh a ton. I worked a bike shop and Smith & Wesson isn't a name associated with the industry. I figure the bike contract must be some kind of 'kickback' to arms dealer. Very few horse police and very few motorcycle police. No riot squad which was nice. Our end of the march had slight traffic jam with marchers ahead - but it was time to get to the bus (5 pm). Didn't see white house or Vietnam Vet memorial - must've been the other group went there.

If I get photo in e-mail, I'll send it . . .

New T-shirt request:
Wellstone wasn't murdered
and God doesn't make little green apples

Mary Titus
New York City
October 28, 2002