A diverse crowd gathered at Pioneer Courthouse Square yesterday for a peace rally and march organized by Peace and Justice Works, Portland Peaceful Response Coalition, and many other groups. About 60 of us met at the First Unitarian Church (identifiable by the yellow signs on our backs) and walked together to the Square.
A number of media reporters were there, but television, radio, and newspaper coverage seemed pretty light, probably due to several other major news events. The United States’ and Europeans’ attack on Libya this date, and Japan’s ongoing disaster caused by last week’s earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis, rightly took the lead. But here in Portland this Saturday afternoon, an estimated crowd of nearly 2000 people chose to gather and speak out in support of democracy, veterans, education, affordable health care, and livable wage jobs, and against the corporate influence over the United States government and the wars.
My desire is that these pictures capture the hopeful spirit of the participants.
The gentleman pictured below said he served in three wars, and had spent time on the USS Abbot working with supply. He was visually impaired, and so asked me to tell him about what was happening in the Square. I told him, and read him a number of signs people were holding. He then told me that the Abbot had shot down the last airplane. I’m not sure exactly which war he was talking about, and wish there had been more time and less noise in the background. I then asked if I could take his picture, and he agreed.
There were quite a few veterans at the rally, many from an organization called Veterans for Peace.
Some people were creative and made their own signs.
The march route was closed to traffic, and each intersection was blocked off to cars by Portland Police officers on bikes, motorcycles, or in cars. The loop took us up Broadway to Columbia, down 2nd Avenue, down to Naito Parkway where we passed under the Morrison and Burnside Bridges, up Davis Street, then South on Broadway and back to the Square. Along the walk, I met some new people, and found some I already knew. We would walk together for a while, get separated when one stopped to chat or take a picture, and then meet up with them again, or with others, along the way.
And one was a major John Prine fan: