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

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9 comments

I'm as anti-war as the next person, but I just wish Cindy would shut up. She sounds unstable and her half-baked ideas discredit the cause.

To Thunder Struck.
I have been there and I was willing to hold up that flag of freedom you live under. I can not go back because I was wounded while proudly serving my country. I do not have a problem with what you say because you are only proving that what I did allows you to say what ever you like on this site about me or my country because somebody will always be willing to stand up even if you choose to hide. Please keep writing and protesting and thank you for proving us right.

Bush is trying to reduce VA benefits, child health care access, and removing any constitutional right you thought you were protecting if you served in the military, as I did. So what the war affirming lemmings do not realize is that they are walking America right off a constitutional cliff.

You have totally omitted any report of WHAT CINDY SAID ! You've got the folk singer quoted extensively, and quote some pre fabricated signs, but not one word from the primary subject of the rally ! Also totally omitted is coverage of the Reverend Yearwood, who mesmerized the people on BOTH sides of the argument, and a total lack of coverage of the ebullient and significant spontaneous march that took place immediately after the rally, straight up the entire mall with hundreds of people joining Cindy as she walked.
In addition, members of Cindy's party were physically intimidated, with two of them being actually pushed or punched.
Cindy herself was strongly jostled by a member of the Pro War group.
As for the police, they were totally inadequate. They allowed the pro war group to physically infiltrate Sheehan's followers, from the back and sides, and allowed them access to the stage where Sheehan was speaking.
The distinct refusal of the police to keep the groups separate, and to allow physical intimidation on the very stage where the speakers were seated could easily have precipitated a tragic affair.
The only reason there was not an ugly incident was the fundamental sense of first amendment rights on the part of all.

A lot of name calling, very little information. Very sixth grade conversation aboout people not in your "group." Try talking about ideas. Unfortunately, there were children observing "adult behavior." Shame on all of you! By the way, the police have not right to do anything to anybody who they do not observe breaking the law, including speaking on public property. You sound like a child complaining that a parent didn't take his side against his sibling.

He got Bush's first name confused with Cheney's?

The Win the War crowd want us to let the so-called "new strategy" have time to work. Well - this "new" strategy (the fourth surge so far of the occupation) which is supposed to bring us victory in Iraq has so-far brought nothing but a *surge* in dead American troops - over 100 a month in the past three months.
The devotopn of the so-called "Victory Marchers" to the new strategy left me a bit puzzled... Since they so strongly support the war, why haven't they enlisted to serve in it? Could it be they are naught but arm-chair warriors, just like the Chickenhawks-in-Chief Bush and Cheney?

Why do you play with words by calling them "war affirming" marchers? Call them waht they are; Pro War Marchers. They support the continued death of our troops in the sands of Iraq. How anyone could consider them as "supporting the troops" is beyond me. Seriously. You don't support the troops by keeping them in harms way where they are dying every day. You
don't support the troops by keeping them engaged in an illegal occupation
of a sovereign nation. This war was based on lies told by George W Bush and Richard B Cheney, who twisted intelligence to fit their agenda. One of these days people are going to wake up to this fact. How many more dead troops is it going to take? How many more families have to bury their sons, daughters, husbands, wives, mothers or fathers for George W Bush's lie? .

Here's a message to all you pro war folks. If you are between the ages of 17 to 42 years old, aren't disabled, and you *really* support this war, put your sign down outside the recruiter's office and go sign up. NOW! What's wrong? You don't want to die for what you believe in? You support other people dying, get yourself in uniform asap! Let's go chickenhawks! Don't hide your cowardice behind signs that you don't have a clue about what they mean in reality.

Support the troops: Bring them home now!

Folksinger here.
I SAID: "Cheney's the DICK and Bush is the TATER."
Also, upon speaking with the man with the sandwich board, I discovered that his design of the Pentagon and the Twin towers with a broken heart (one side: NYC and the other: USA) with the words: "We will never forget" was directed at the GOVERNMENT. So we were not opponents we were very much in agreement on who the culprits of this hideous act were. Things are often not what they seem.
Thank you.
-Daniel Cioper