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LOCAL Announcement :: Protest, Resistance and Direct Action

disturbing the peace

This week, I made it to the weekly peace rally at mill creek park on the country club plaza. There was something different then times before, and it was lining the sidewalks. The pro war counter rallies had began. It simply felt weird. And not in a ‘good’ way. We debated several minutes about joining. It was a honking frenzy, but with the “pro war” folks standing next to the “anti war” folks, it was difficult to tell what message was getting across.

I watched a local “news” station camera man tell a pro war woman he was glad to see them out there finally. She asked that he’d make sure he got a good shot of the people there to "support our troops" (?!). He replied, “oh, you can bet on it!” Glancing over at me, as he'd just heard me mention the ugliness i hadn't noticed in my past sunday's there. As if I don’t support our troops. The person to direct anger at, perhaps, should be the person who ordered them away in the first place .… how supportive is it to risk the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in an unjustified, ridiculous war? I know a few of these people. I want to see them again. Alive. Unscarred.

A man approached me and asked, “what side are you on?” I couldn’t really tell if we shared the same opinion, yet I felt a bit uneasy. I said, “what do you mean?”
“well, are you for or against?”
I thought, “ peace? War? Surely he can’t be asking me if I’m for war?!” but all I said was, “for or against what?”
“*sigh* are YOU for freedom or not?
I didn’t understand.
“I don’t understand.”
“look, I’ve got signs here that I’m giving away, and I just want to know if you want one – O.K?”.
my first time being confronted at a peace rally. I think this is the level of what the police expect in unruly protesters. Except this is a relatively new addition to a weekly event, that has so far, been about non-violence. I guess violence happens when you mix war with peace....

I read a sign that said, “kill all suspected terrorists – god bless America”. whatever that’s supposed to mean. Isn’t that the same mentality of some of what this broad definitaion of terrorism is? “kill all suspected infidels” ring any bells? Speaking of septemeber 11th – the bumperstickers lie. We are not united. We don’t “always remember”. We apparently have long forgotten to not be able to see that a “shock and awe” bombing campaign slightly resembles watching two airplanes crash into the world trade center towers. Except we don’t see the part where people die, or flee for their lives. There are no windows to jump from when buildings just explode. Indeed, somebody needs to bless America, there’s a hole in our collective soul.

A kindred spirit told me about how he was punched in the face last week while crossing the street. Several acts of violence have occurred, fist fights and the such. This wasn’t the case before the pro war group added their voices. I can’t say too much, because I truly believe in free speech. They have as much a right to be there as anyone. I simply find it interesting that the “peace” rallies are no longer “peaceful”. The one place I could go to seek solace in company, and reflect is changed. No longer is it a place of refuge, but yet another place of war. A place where I don’t feel safe. I guess terrorism has many different faces.

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Re: disturbing the peace

I wonder if the best immediate response to this scenario is to seek to legally exclude pro-war protesters from the traditional time and place of anti-war/KC Iraq Task Force protesters? This is on public property, so I'm not sure if that can be legally done. However, if baseball fields can be reserved for special teams at special times, I wonder if Brad Grabs and the AFSC leaders would think about ending this mutual, conflicting protest. Sure, having both American opinions side by side shows that Americans care and consider themselves loyal. But it's a further question of how you're 'fighting' and what for that really concerns both sides.

I, for one, think that the pro-war supporters should be legally restrained or relocated from the traditional spot of the Let Iraq Live protest. No, this isn't to restrict or limit pro-war/pro-troop protesters, but to respect the legality of the anti-war protesters and separate the confusion and possible conflict of the activists.

Indeed, from the anti-war side, we should not give up on the conversion of the people who think this war is just and good. Yet, they should get their own place and time or stay on their side of the street. Sure, they should be welcome to attend the anti-war rally for curiosity's sake, yet they--as they did Iraq--our invading someone else's sovereign land with immoral means and perhaps ends. They should be welcome to attend as diplomats of dialogue, not soldiers of protest. So, if they want to attend, they should be required to leave their pro-war signs at home.

I don't foresee this being done. Yet, I certainly think it should be considered.

excellent points kara,

thanks for sharing this concern. Many of us have likely had similar feelings.

Granted the initial entry to the park seemed a little intimidating. That said, I thought that this last Sunday's overall protest was especially powerful. The positive energy generated by the pro peace crowd was awesome. The majority of our anti war, pro peace protesters are intelligent, beautiful, caring people:
sign example:

The pro war people are well aware that they are outnumbered (and outclassed) by the pro peace protesters. Their ugly little, not so secret goal is to antagonize / provoke a pro peace protester into doing something illegal. (Really, it must feel awful to harbor such hateful feelings towards your fellow citizens. I almost feel sorry for them. almost.)

Another possibility under investigation is that many of this specific group of pro war people may have been bused in from Iowa.

From what I understand, it is not realistic for the to groups be physically seperated. Nor should we move our protest, as they would quickly follow (pity they do not have creativity enough to find their own park). The legality of the threatening signage issue is being looked into.

We need to ignore them and focus on doing good. Bring a camera and take photos, take notes for an article, mingle, gather signatures for our civil liberties, wander to the drumming area.

Someone that I met a few weeks ago stated that we get courage from one another there. I believe that to be very true. Among like minded people, lively entertainment, in an outdoor park spring setting, we make our own agenda.


Re: disturbing the peace


well, tempers did flare on both sides. but, i would say their goal is more to make themselves as visible as possible (elbowing their way to the front of the crowd, constantly parading back and forth across the street) in order to hijack the rally. It was almost petty..a group of them refused to budge from one high-profile corner so that those of us returning from the Plaza march could get through. They were standing *at the curb.

I am all for free speech too, but not when they are convoluting and drowning out *my speech. I agree with mseeger that the two groups should be sectioned off. Then it will be obvious just how small their group is, and we won't feel like we're in a war zone. It was a very electric, negative, and *draining affair, and I think that if it keeps up, a lot of good people will be turned off from protesting. Which, come to think of it, is exactly what they want. :(

Re: disturbing the peace

Sara is right. It is not only disruptive but chaotic when we have pro-war ideologues physically located within our ranks. They get there hours before we do and are there entirely to antagonize us. They need to be encouraged to move to the opposite side of the street. I have heard some people say they will not come if it is otherwise.

Re: disturbing the peace

Seperatiing the two groups would obviously be the best solution. None of us are happy with the uncomfortable close contact, and it will undoubtably drive some away.

I hope that someone with legal experience chimes in here, but I personally doubt that a legal option currently exists for this public property conflict.
I also tend to think the pro-war group would be amused if our leaders asked them to move to a different area.

I honestly hope that the two groups can be physically seperated. Based upon what I have picked up in various conversations, I am skeptical this option is enforcable.


Re: disturbing the peace

I showed up last Sunday at the Park during the Pro-Usa pep Rally with my Anti-War sign..
... I stood in a barrage of insults from xenophobic men, 80 year old woman and Kill Saddam screaming children. I felt sad and sorry for these folks, because most these people, under different circumstances, are probably harmless. Its unfortunate they have chosen to give into the same propaganda mis-imformation media fear campaign that we are trying so hard to stop and bring out into the open. I feel we should stand our ground and believe in our cause for truth,civil rights,peace, democracy and unity in the world without U.S. Imperialism, regardless if the PRO-WAR side trys threaten our demonstration, And who cares about HONKS FOR ANYTHING, were not cheer leaders, this is'nt anything to cheer and honk our petroleum spewing machines about, let the mystified pro-u.s.a.-war heads pep and cheer for honks .. For us, I think, its standing together with signs of Dissent.. This strongly delivers our message.
That We show firm Educated-Dissent against this PREEMTIVE WAR/OCCUPATION of IRAQ and against the BUSH Administrations Agenda to spread its form of WORLDWIDE PAX AMERICANA by sucking Americans Pocket Books Dry . In the end, even if the PRO-WAR Types still have'nt seen the LIGHT, we will at least know that we tried and are trying to protect they're freedoms and civil rights here in the good old U.S.A..

Re: disturbing the peace

In response to Chris: Chris, you have a good point. No, we are not protesting, uniting, rallying, coming together as anti-war, pro-peace, pro-nonviolence, pro-UN, anti-Bush, pro-morals, dissenting citizens to merely achieve honks or a quota against our "competition" (the pro-war people).

To merely get honks, "run a PR campaign," and look pretty means dookie. However, we must not overlook these tools in achieving our end, whatsoever you might think it to be. To some, it is to stop the war. To some, it is to impeach Bush and Stop the War. To some, it is to educate and excite people to impeach Bush, Stop the War, support international law, and radically reform society's institutions and behaviors to create a more utopian life for all.

Still, publicity can be a useful tool. Numbers can be useful. Having people honk may bring hope and inspiration to the uncertain protester who isn't as lit by activism as some of us. Nonetheless, I make the point that we should have a legal right to a safe, secure protest. If we are for peace, and believe that this means no unjust war, and this IS an unjust war, then those who say "Support our Troops: Bomb Iraq" are AGAINST the protest and therefore hostile.

Now, I believe in their right to protest as well. I don't think we should reversely discriminate and strip civil liberties like fascists.

But I would agree, overall and foremost, that the point of a mass meeting of nonviolent, anti-war activists needs to be getting the message across within and outside the rally, focusing on quality, moral issues, and working to reform the wrongs symbolically, indirectly, and as directly as possible.

There's so much more I think we all can say and debate and prompt one another to think and do. That's why we have to continue the protests, come up with new and forgotten and old ideas, and work together with a strong voice and presence so that we are not overlooked. Having the pro-war people next to us, literally, may contribute to the cause being overlooked in some ways. And if the politicians and pro-war and apathetic people continue to overlook us, we must "shout louder" and in new, consistent methods until we are unavoidable. Yet, again, literally shouting is only the beginning.

Though I believe in nonviolence, our resistance can be nonviolent, peaceful, and threatening to our opposition. We must continue to shout and act until they know that "the worst has yet to come." Whether that means a massive strike, elections, demonstrations, civil disobedience, or impeachment, we must use that phrase which the warmongers tell us to make us rally for war and fear, as our tool as well. The difference: the means and end of the people. Yes, indeed, the worst has yet to come. Now, we are left with those thoughts. Where should we go from here? With liberty and justice for all--how?

Re: disturbing the peace

I have to say, I have been disturbed by many people's reactions to the anti-war demonstrators. No, I do not like what the pro-fascist... i mean war demonstrators have to say, however, you must look at all sides of what you are doing.

What kind of precedence would it set if we kick them out from doing a counter demonstration. If it became a law that counter demonstrations are not allowed, then we will be complaining just as hard when we are not able to attend a white pride rally on the capital steps, a pro life demonstration, or even a pro-war rally in opposition.

Limiting the little free speech we have in this country is no solution I'm willing to take part in.

Re: disturbing the peace

Yes, this makes some sense. However, do we invade pro-war demonstrators' area? No, we counteract their protest by going across the street or staying on a separate portion of the park/street/site. By mingling with one another, intermixing if you will, we certainly epitomize the political cartoon/drawing in Wed. April 7's STAR Metro. section. Yet, we also conflict messages, stir-up radical hatred on both sides, and confuse passerby.

So, I don't believe in restricting freedom, just make it more coherent and unified for both sides. Possibly, we could agree on that. But I will admit it is a neat thing to have both/multiple opinions side by side, under the name of justice and freedom and the USA.

Re: disturbing the peace

plate, i agree that kicking out the counter-protesters is no solution at all and would make us hypocrites, might as well pack up and go home. but at the same time, I want to be heard. The administration has ignored us, as has my own party (I get basically the same stupid form letter from every Democrat I write). So, the last (legal) option is to protest, but now even this is being undermined. There's a lot of confusion, yelling-matches that don't begin to pass for dialogue, and, to my thinking, a deliberate effort on the part of the counter-protesters to drown us out.

I agree we shouldn't just run a PR campaign and court honks. But there's a reason we're gathering in a downtown shopping center and not the middle of a cornfield. We want our dissent to be registered, and just maybe, provoke thought.

As for separate protests, I guess thats not happening, oh well. I thought of a "prayer" of Voltaire's: "Lord, make my enemies ridiculous". of course, we don't need much help in this regard. but, I'm thinking we could follow mseeger's line and stage a fun, creative parody of the counter-protesters, and sheeplike pro-war people in general. anyone have any ideas?

Re: disturbing the peace

a dadaist protest, bringing signs that have familiar icons of Affluenza Culture to deconstruct PRo-WAR PAX AmericanA World View.Put absolutely nothing on them
but a gas can or a lawm mower,a picture of a full trash bag,a football basketball, A Pickup Truck, SUV, Appliences,
CHain Saw, Snow Mobile, MotorCycle, Boats,Fishing ROD/ BASS PRO, Shot GUN, Anything that is relivent.
Stand with nascar hats on that have different numbers on them ???
Use images of movie characters, e-woks,chewbacca,Bruce Willis(SP?)Kevin Costener,(sp?)CNN
/FOX NewsCASTERs, Wolf Blitzer?? photos of the horrible cows on parade exhibit that hit the plaza a few years ago??
Old Glory with 51 stars instead of 50 and hand out leaflets, get a petition started that would add Iraq
as the 51st state and that Bush is opening up a new colonial summer suburb outside Baghdad on JULY 4 called Freedom FALLS Estates??? (Soorry About the spelling errors.
I'm without dictionary)

a different kind of rally?

please glance at this link about a successful Portland parody protest:


Might KC be able to hold something similar, perhaps for May Day?

Re: disturbing the peace

In addition to not letting them provoke us into breaking laws, let's prosecute them for the laws they break. I was shoved by a pro-war dude about twice my weight, who, alas, disappeared into the crowd before I could identify him. I would have pressed charges for assault. I know someone else who was puched, and today someone was hit by an SUV that they drove onto the lawn (while we were told that we'd be ticketed for doing the same thing). Let's not let this go! Because we stand for peace, let's stand up to bullies!


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