i participated in the nighttime city anti-war rally because i've witnessed the work community organizations like chicago antiwar and not in my name have gone through to secure a permit for organizations to march on michigan avenue. my clear goal was to support the first amendment cause. but i learned so many great things along the way. yes, it was a festival. but its importance is way more than my skill to describe here. bystanders lined sidewalks and peered from hotel and business windows, some cheering, some jeering.
shortly after war was declared in afghanistan and iraq, protestors gathered for an impromptu rally at federal plaza and denounced president bush's decision to invade iraq.
they took to the streets which eventually spilled into lake shore drive.
many friends of mine can tell you how irresponsible they consider protestors to let their grief spill onto the highway, inconveniencing them by costing them three to four more hours warming their car seats as they sat in traffic.
i would like to think that people who said that can't help being irked because at that time, they needed to go to the bathroom. and they were stuck in traffic.
police were waiting for protestors on the corner of michigan avenue and pearson. protestors decided to call it a night at around 10 p.m. at that corner. some protestors realized what was going on, and dispersed immediately. the curious ones witnessed how police in riot gear formed a square in the middle of the two streets' intersection and form a... corral.
police started arresting protestors. another one of my friends was arrested that day. i found out through her roommate. she did not elaborate, and i didn't prod further, after all, it was our friends' story. i could ask her some other time if i want. but i don't think i should.
i was working in the office that night, and was fielding phone calls flooding our newsroom. after the third call, you can't help but notice something's wrong when the person you're talking to on the phone is describing what's happening on TV.
it turns out that a radio station had read a report of ours that was written so ambiguously that it could mean that the protestors are starting to beat police officers, that's why police are forced to form an enclosure and make arrests - because any one of those protestors could start a fight.
i think we have at least three reporters out on the street that night. they were calling back things that they saw. it could be that a reporter saw police arresting a zealous protestor, fighting police, his friends fighting with him. it could be that there was just that one fight that caused police to form the enclosure and scaring other protestors.
i think that's the case because at another rally - i think just last year - police almost escorted anti-war demonstrators down state street to, if i remember it right, daley plaza. from a media video from the air, the demonstration looked like a walking rectangle down state street.
my friends and i left saturday's protest at 8:30 p.m. it was our first anti-war rally and march. protestors took the entire of michigan avenue southbound, three lanes of traffic.
a rally serves many purposes. this one helped me understand (war) issues more clearly. it was different than just telling a friend how demonstrations could be the fastest way to get information about issues.
at least four people asked what flag i was carrying. it was the only flag of its kind in the rally - earlier, i joked with friends that it was the only philippine flag in the entire city, and i might be right about that. i wonder if you could see blue over red from ten stories up. i wonder what the march looked like from the air.
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