Road protest: Resistance was futile

Score one for the protestors. They shut down one of this City's biggest intersections, and the only thing close to violence came from what looked like an inconvenienced soccer mom.

The demonstration began at 3:42pm on Thursday, March 21, less than 24 hours after American bombs hit a "target of opportunity" in downtown Baghdad, the opening salvo in the war to remove Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein.

About 160 protestors, who had marched down Main Street from UVA, held hands in a giant circle in the intersection of Ridge, Main, and South streets.

The driver of a Honda Odyssey, meanwhile, had somewhere she'd rather be. Like some other drivers stuck in the snarl, she leaned on her horn and shouted obscenities at the road-blockers.

Once she began tapping the backs of protestors' legs with her front bumper, though, additional protestors scurried over and began sitting on and leaning against the hood of the $30,000 vehicle.

The woman could not be reached for comment, but Andrew Holden, a protest leader profiled in The Hook last week, could.

"That a person would attempt to pursue violence just because they've been inconvenienced is troubling," says Holden, who also cites "inconvenience" as President Bush's war motive.

Holden, 24, is a self-styled "anarchist" who volunteers around town but seems unencumbered by a day job. Fighting for a "living wage" for all employees, he once chained himself to an elevator in the Omni downtown, and last fall he served two weeks of a 60-day sentence for protesting at the Marriott on West Main Street. This time around, he led the march into the intersection with such chants as these:

"Not our president– not our war. Enron's president– Exxon's war." "Whose streets? Our streets!"

 A Charlottesville police officer drove up in a white SUV, spoke to a few protestors, and then departed.

"There wasn't much they could do– there were too many of us," says Holden.

 

BOX:

A similar-sized band of Charlottesville High School students took advantage of warm spring weather on Monday, March 24 to demonstrate their anguish over the war.

"One, two, three, four, we don't want your fucking war," they chanted along the Downtown Mall.

After a few minutes at the clubhouse– er, Federal Courthouse– they walked on to the Corner, about three miles from the Melbourne Road school.

According to the Associated Press, roughly 1,000 students remained at Charlottesville High School throughout the day. Those who skipped classes may be subject to after-school detention– or more if they already have a checkered record.

 

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