TUCSON -- Over 500 people turned out today to march across the central city for peace and ending Bush's Iraq war. After a good peace and justice rally at Catalina Park including the Raging Grannies and others, people marched east on Speedway Blvd. toward a US military recruiting center. My family and I joined the march.
Peace lovers had lots of powerful signs, including a life size cardboard Bush cutout, modified to look like Hitler. Many American flags also flew, some with peace signs across the stripes. I held a sign that said 'PAZ' with a peace sign.
Police at first tried to keep marchers on the sidewalk, but there were too many jamming the sidewalk, pushing some wheelchairs in to the bike lane. I talked with the cop in the front and he agreed people should take to the street. The mood was positive with almost all feedback positive from observers and passers-by. It was hot, but lots of grins. Stop lights were a small problem, cutting up the march. Next time there should be an arrangement to let the march go through red lights to help stay together.
The crowd rolled in to the recruitment center, filling the parking lot and all around the front of the building. Anarchists taped a big revolutionary flag covering both front doors. The center was closed. Peaceniks walked around, held signs, and chanted some. Cops stayed back, mostly, which I and many appreciated.
Eventually a red Suburban rolled up, with huge US Marines stickers on it and also a memorial photo of a young marine killed in Iraq. A middle-aged man got out with his wife; a few minutes later 3 or 4 kids showed up, his kids. He was in camo pants and had a big red marines flag, but was fairly calm. Marchers respected his rights and there was even some dialogue. People explained that they were supporting the troops from being killed in an unjust war. One marcher commented about how his giant SUV contributed to world insecurity.
My wife said some of these grieving families have to believe the war is just, or they'll go nuts. She is probably right.
It was a good march that showed people in southern AZ want the war ended now. Thanks organizers for putting it on. Let's do more.