I have never participated our mingled with protesters or a protest group in my forty and some change years of life. I was a little nervous, so I tossed back a couple pints before entering the perimeter. It was Sunday around 6 pm. Cops were on standby at intersections around the designated protest spot. I noticed a police paddywagon parked nearby. Maybe I should’ve had a few more pints.
There were about one-hundred people gathered together and a guy was up on some makeshift podium speaking without any voice aids. He would say a short phrase, the audience would repeat the phrase, and then they would put their hands in the air and wiggle their fingers and say “wheeeeeew”. I wasn’t ready yet to join in on the ritual so I stood there and listened. Several speakers took the podium one at a time and delivered short messages in the same routine. Apparently this 6 pm event occurs every night and it is a council meeting.
There was a mix of age groups in the crowd and they didn’t appear like a bunch of “loonies” or “lefties” as Bill O’Reilly has coined them. In fact, they looked like everyday citizens you would see walking down the street on any given day. Sure, there were a few exceptions, but on the whole, “normal people” like me. I did notice a soldier standing next to me in full dress and he was also just observing.
I decided to walk around and take some pictures of the card board signs with my crappy phone to capture some of the raw messages. Below are some samples. I also observed a few booths set up. One booth provided information about the protest, another offered first aid, and another was set up with food and water. I also observed several tents and perhaps twenty to thirty people relaxing in their temporary homes. A few protestors held signs up by the street and many cars would honk their horns in support while passing by.
This was a good introduction for me and I will return in the weeks to come. Looks like they have large demonstrations each Saturday so I plan to make it to the next one and participate. I also obtained information about the local chapter’s internet site which contains lots of informative information.