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HUNDREDS HIT THE STREETS IN EUREKA
by Brian Covert (inochi [at] cox.net)
Sunday Mar 16th, 2003 2:43 AM
Hundreds of people from all over Humboldt County, California took to the streets of Eureka on Saturday, March 15, in solidarity with worldwide marches for peace and justice, and against the US government's threatened invasion of Iraq.
eureka_march03.jpg

By BRIAN COVERT
INDEPENDENT JOURNALIST

Eureka, Humboldt County, CA -- Hundreds of people from all over the county marched in the streets here Saturday to protest the US government's threatened invasion of Iraq, and to speak out for justice and peace.

The march started in the otherwise quiet suburban neighborhoods of the county seat of Eureka, and ended several hours later at a jam-packed rally at the city's Old Town waterfront district.

Paul Cienfuegos, an Arcata activist and one of the organizers of the event, estimated early on that the number of people who gathered that afternoon may have reached in the thousands, possibly as high as 5,000.

The protesters, representing all segments of society, chanted, sang, shouted and hoisted signs and flags as they marched more than a dozen blocks to the rally. They left no doubt as to their feelings on the Bush government's threatened attack on Iraq.

Peter LaVallee, mayor of Eureka, told the crowd at the rally that people must use their voices to speak out louder than ever. The newly elected LaVallee had recently come under fire for relocating an American flag from the city mayor's office to another part of the building.

Messages of support from State Senator Wesley Chesbro (D-Arcata) and Congressman Mike Thompson were read to the crowd. Both politicians blasted the Bush government's drive to war.

Shamara Wyllie, a student of Eureka High School and founder of the school's African-American Club, told those assembled that her inspiration to speak out and get involved is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Rabbi Naomi Steinberg gave a prayer in Hebrew, and equated the defense of human rights with protection of the forests, which are currently being ravaged in Humboldt County by logging companies.

Vietnam veteran and activist Brian Willson, relating his firsthand experiences with the horrors of war, called for a transformation of social and spiritual values in these times of crisis.

§Power Flowers
by Brian Covert (inochi [at] cox.net) Sunday Mar 16th, 2003 2:43 AM
eureka_march05.jpg
One sign-bearing protester finds a calm place beside a residential flowerbed (foreground), as hundreds of protesters gather under rainy skies Saturday morning at the Eureka Municipal Auditorium for the noon kickoff of the march.
§Taking the Streets
by Brian Covert (inochi [at] cox.net) Sunday Mar 16th, 2003 2:43 AM
eureka_march14.jpg
A street-level view of the festive marchers, led by Vietnam veteran Brian Willson (on modified bike), as they wind their way through the suburban neighborhoods of Eureka.
§Escorts
by Brian Covert (inochi [at] cox.net) Sunday Mar 16th, 2003 2:43 AM
eureka_march16.jpg
Police officers on motorcycles provide an escort for the march along rain-slickened I Street, heading north. The police presence at the march appeared peaceful and cordial, and no incidents of harassment were reported at press time.
§Women in Black
by Brian Covert (inochi [at] cox.net) Sunday Mar 16th, 2003 2:43 AM
eureka_march20.jpg
A view from over the shoulders of the "Women in Black," during their vigil at the Humboldt County Courthouse, as they wave and cheer to the oncoming marchers across the street (upper left).
§Outnumbered
by Brian Covert (inochi [at] cox.net) Sunday Mar 16th, 2003 2:43 AM
eureka_march22.jpg
A few dozen or so pro-war folks line up along the curb in front of the Humboldt County Courthouse, waving American flags and jeering at the anti-war demonstrators across the street. The anti-war marchers, however, vastly outnumbered them
§Blocks and Blocks Long (1)
by Brian Covert (inochi [at] cox.net) Sunday Mar 16th, 2003 2:43 AM
eureka_march37.jpg
The foot of the march, as it turns from I Street onto Second Street near the waterfront, with thousands of marchers filling the streets behind for several blocks.
§Blocks and Blocks Long (2)
by Brian Covert (inochi [at] cox.net) Sunday Mar 16th, 2003 2:43 AM
eureka_march39.jpg
Marchers continuing onto Second Street, with the tail-end of the demonstration nowhere in sight from here.
§At the Gazebo (1)
by Brian Covert (inochi [at] cox.net) Sunday Mar 16th, 2003 2:43 AM
rally_gazebo1.jpg
Final destination of the march: a rally at the Gazebo square at Second and F streets, near the waterfront.
§At the Gazebo (2)
by Brian Covert (inochi [at] cox.net) Sunday Mar 16th, 2003 2:43 AM
rally_gazebo2.jpg
Protesters jammed around the pagoda-shaped gazebo to listen to songs and speeches through the afternoon.
§Looking Out
by Brian Covert (inochi [at] cox.net) Sunday Mar 16th, 2003 2:43 AM
eureka_rally12.jpg
A look at the crowd from the Gazebo.
§Opening Prayer
by Brian Covert (inochi [at] cox.net) Sunday Mar 16th, 2003 2:43 AM
eureka_rally03.jpg
Cheryl Seidner, tribal chairwoman of the Wiyot nation, was one of the first to speak. She led the crowd in a prayer for peace and respect for all living things.
§Sacred Drum
by Brian Covert (inochi [at] cox.net) Sunday Mar 16th, 2003 2:43 AM
eureka_rally20.jpg
Two Native American brothers performed honor songs, and encouraged those gathered at the rally to respect the wisdom of elders.
§At the Gazebo (3)
by Brian Covert (inochi [at] cox.net) Sunday Mar 16th, 2003 2:43 AM
eureka_rally21.jpg
Some of the hundreds, possibly thousands, of people who jam-packed the Gazebo area. A few shops nearby temporarily closed their doors for business.
§At the Gazebo (4)
by Brian Covert (inochi [at] cox.net) Sunday Mar 16th, 2003 2:43 AM
eureka_rally29.jpg
The crowd at the rally had the Gazebo surrounded.
§Sign On
by Brian Covert (inochi [at] cox.net) Sunday Mar 16th, 2003 2:43 AM
eureka_rally42.jpg
A few of the signs and placards displayed throughout the afternoon.
§Speaking of Holy Books....
by Brian Covert (inochi [at] cox.net) Sunday Mar 16th, 2003 2:43 AM
eureka_rally44.jpg
Dr. Abdul Aziz, professor at Humboldt State University in nearby Arcata, told those gathered at the rally that there is nothing in either the Christian Bible or the Islamic Quran that calls on followers to kill others.
§Ship of State
by Brian Covert (inochi [at] cox.net) Sunday Mar 16th, 2003 2:43 AM
eureka_rally67.jpg
A protester waves an upside-down flag as a sign of protest. An upside-down flag is also the traditional S.O.S signal of a ship in distress.
§One Good Bush Deserves Another
by Brian Covert (inochi [at] cox.net) Sunday Mar 16th, 2003 2:43 AM
eureka_rally50.jpg
A protester's placard found lying in a bush at the Gazebo reads "The biggest terrorist of them all!"-- symbolizing the sentiments of many hundreds who marched and rallied in Eureka on Saturday.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by ED Denson (edenson [at] asis.com)
Sunday Mar 16th, 2003 4:37 PM
Those of my generation wonder how the Germans could have let the Nazis rise to power, destroy the institutions of German democracy, and institute the holocaust. Now in my 60s, I see, in Bush's rise and actions exactly how it happened. How fortunate for the soul of America that so many have spoken out against it. How unfortunate that so many have not. How sad that once again the old send the young to fight and die. Bush is not yet Hitler, but when I hear the arrogance in his speeches and the disregard for the opinions, beliefts, and heartfelt desires of humanity, I see that he has it in him to become Hitler. Perhaps we all do, but Bush has the situlation unfolding before him that puts the opportunity and temptation in his path. I do not see the moral character in him that could prevent it.
Thanks for the excellent photo essay on the march. It was heartening.
by Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap (duhc [at] monitor.net)
Monday Mar 17th, 2003 5:14 PM
Hey, Just a clarification. There were definately *thousands* of people at the Eureka rally, not merely hundreds. Even our local corporate paper reported 2,500. And I have heard numerous reports that the actual number is closer to 3,000+

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