Saturday, March 17, 2007

Iraq protest at Pentagon -- hard to get to


I was in the Bryant Lake Bowl theater in Minneapolis on March 19, 2003, when the Iraq war started with the "shock and awe" campaign over Baghdad. IFP had just finished a free public program, and the CNN coverage was shown over the TV in the theater and bar.

Four years later we have a protest in Washington, in the north parking lot at the Pentagon. I was going to get there to snap some pictures of the protest signs, on a cold and windy St Patricks Day, rather late for snow in Washington. The march started at the Lincoln Memorial, went across Memorial Bridge, and onto the parking lot.

But what I found out on foot was how hard it was to see if you didn't join the march from the beginning, in the cold. The Blue Line segment on the Metro that would have stopped at Arlington Cemetery (the closest stop) was shut down. You can part at Pentagon City Mall and walk through the tunnel, but security will not let you cross the lot to the north side (or have a camera). This was a brutal day weatherwise, and I think they know it. They are perfectly willing to be open to the public with a 9/11 memorial commemoration -- which is entirely appropriate -- but today they didn't want it to be too easy to even see the protestors, who were out of sight because of the geography of the area.

True, forty years ago there was a similar protest over the Vietnam war, and it turned ugly. This one went well. But all I saw of it was the protestors returning toward Memorial Bridge as it broke up.

There are stills from earlier protests at this link.

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