Sunday, March 18, 2007

Colorado Springs' Finest at Work

Yesterday, Lola's family was in town to visit, so I ended up not going to the St. Patrick's Day parade downtown, and I feel guilty now. The parade is apparently a big deal in our town, full of the kind of well-supervised rebellion that I tried to avoid during this season when I lived near South Padre Island. So when I heard that a group of local peace activists were planning to get their message out in the march, I was a little skeptical. Privately, I worried about people perpetuating the idea of the peace movement as a bunch of killjoys. It seemed to me that the movement's own event, a rally downtown that happened today, would be the more important action. Boy was I wrong.

Activists got a permit to participate in the march yesterday under the aegis of the Bookmobile. They wore lime-green shirts with peace signs and carried signs related to the upcoming anniversary of the illegal and disastrous invasion of Iraq. Although organizers of the parade allowed candidates for city council to march unmolested, they asked the police to remove
the peace marchers, who were accused of having a "negative" message. People I talked to at the rally today said that after giving the demonstrators almost no time to respond to their "official notice," the cops started dragging people with green T-shirts to the sidewalk.
One of them was Elizabeth Fineron, above. She is in her 60s and walks with a cane. She had to be hospitalized after the cops were through with her.
We saw her today at the rally. She said she was sore but had no serious injuries. Nevertheless, what a cowardly thing for a cop to do! These photos are from the Toilet Paper blog.

For today's rally a crowd of about 100 gathered to hear speakers, a performance by Our Town's own First Strike Theater, and the musical stylings of a blues/funk group who managed to insert the phrase "work for peace" into their rendition of "Brick House." The cops were present but didn't seem to be interested in any funny business.

Elizabeth, along with some friends, runs a group called Alterni-Tees that prints some fantastic topical T-shirts (example on left). If you want to show the local cops what you think about what happened, why not order a T-shirt? All the shirts are extremely professional-looking designs in multiple colors, and many are printed on interesting and attractive colors of fabric. They wouldn't have been out of place at Lo's shower.

On a darker note, a man wearing a rainbow-colored "Gore 2000" hat and a tie-died shirt was walking around today's rally collecting signatures on a petition calling for an end to the war. He wasn't affiliated with the organizers of the event, and when I asked him about this, he said he had just started his own petition drive. He continued to circulate, and after getting a large number of signatures, he left the rally. On his way he stopped to talk to the cops. I saw paper in his hand and I couldn't tell whether he was asking them to sign the petition or giving it to them. A mole in our midst?


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