Friday, November 04, 2005

they met the protesters with military-style force

My partner (and the dancing cardboard skeleton) made it home unscathed, very late the night of the protest up in the county seat. But the reports of the reaction to this peaceful, if creative protest on the steps of the federal building by ordinary folks--these reports are chilling. Yes, there was full on police and federal marshal presence. But what is more chilling yet is the response given to the young bicyclists from Critical Mass. A large group of these people rode from their little college town to the site of the bigger demonstration. It's about a 7 mile long ride. As they came in to the main town they were met by the cops, including helicopter support. Several of the young women were pulled from their bikes and roughed up. A number were taken to jail, charged with such things as failure to respond to a police order.
Understand, we are not talking violent riots here, or even rock throwing. We are talking peaceful protesters trying to reach a demonstration against the Bush regime and the tragic continuing invasion of Iraq. My 62 year old neighbor and his wife turned out for it. Lots of folks who had never thought of going out on the streets turned out for this. They carried a cardboard coffin. They played taps. The skeleton danced. Children held up signs. And the brave Critical Mass bicyclists tried to come join.
"Well, they didn't shoot us" comments one of the bikers, wryly smiling.
Yes, true. But--mark my words--these are harsh times. When a regime trembles before its fall, you don't expect everything to be sweetness and light.
But hey, I'll be out on my corner tonight--it's Friday; the women in black will gather again, standing in hope. And standing because--well, if you don't use your freedoms, it's easier to have them removed. Or that's what I think.


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