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Saturday, September 24, 2005

This is What the Protest Movement Looks Like

Posted by on September 24 at 12:28 PM

I had planted myself at what I was told would be the head of the D.C. march, only to find that the march had many heads, or at least many people with many ideas about where the head of the march should be. And of course, each one of these people seemed to have a bullhorn.

Cindy Sheehan, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, et al were supposed to lead off the march, followed by the Gold Star Families for Peace, including Lynn Bradach. But because some of the marchers had other ideas, this is what the protest movement looked like at around 12:30 today: Native Americans against drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other such groups marching off in one direction, while the military families, Al Sharpton, and others prepared to march in a different direction.

At one point I saw Jesse Jackson and Cindy Sheehan bust through a line of police horses and into a police car, so that they could be whisked up ahead of the anarchists and Palestinian nationalists and anti-IMF protesters who had taken the lead. They never did make it to the actual front, but Jesse and Cindy did manage to charge in and create a nice moment for the press gathered in front of the White House. Around them, a strange scene unfolded, often seeming more like the WTO protests than an anti-war march.

I waited at the White House for Lynn and the Gold Star moms to pass. By then they were stuck in the middle of the march, outflanked by the anarchists, outmaneuvered by Jesse and Cindy, but still full of rage. They finally arrived, stopped in front of the White House, held up pictures of their dead sons, and chanted: “Not one more.”