Victory marchers meet Sheehan singers
One of the larger protests Charlottesville has seen in recent years began this afternoon on the occasion of a visit by America's most renowned bereaved war mom, Cindy Sheehan.
"We could impeach Dick Cheney in one day!" declared Sheehan's local host, David Swanson, before a crowd of nearly 1,000 nestled between the Omni hotel and the Charlottesville Ice Park.
Sheehan supporters appeared to outnumber "Victory" marchers by a ratio of at least two to one. But what they lacked in numbers, the pro-war marchers made up in pithy slogans. Among them: "Say No to War... Unless a Democrat's in the White House" and "War Never solved anything... except for slavery, facism, nazism, and communism."
Sheehan supporter Daniel Cioper, part of the traveling entourage, regaled the crowd with his original song, "Fascist Dictator," and then listened patiently as an intellectual opponent showed bearing a sandwich board that incorporated the designs of the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.
In fact, both factions (each amply equipped with American flags) urged their compatriots to respect the rights of the other side in the debate over the war in Iraq, and although the Sheehan supporters seemed more likely to punctuate their speeches with salty language (Cioper, for instance, called President Bush a four-letter word that sounds like the first syllable of dictator), there was no shred of violence.
A Charlottesville Police presence of at least half a dozen, including Chief Timothy Longo, didn't seem to hurt. But there was never a hint that either side– particularly the peace-lovin' retinue of Code Pinkers– wanted a war in Charlottesville.
Here are some additional photos of the day's events