March 20, 2003

Dispatch (and slogans) from massive M20 protest in downtown Chicago

In the wake of the historic M20 rally and march, a follow-up antiwar rally with even more protesters--and a far larger police presence--took place in Federal Plaza on March 21, 2003, followed by a march through downtown Chicago.

The police presence was massive right away at M21. Coordinated fleets of hundreds of helmeted police on foot surrounded Federal Plaza from the scheduled beginning of the rally, accompanied by a full array of police on horseback (one protester said "Get those animals off those horses!"), plus five buses that didn't make an appearance until late the police attack on Thursday.

I don't mean to disparage the Chicago Police Department (well, yes I do, considering their wanton beatings and mass arrests on M20), but given the intimidating police presence on M21, I couldn't help but think of the words "Berlin" and "1930s".

The M20 events were heavily scripted. After a scheduled one hour rally, the march began with police continually surrounding the protesters (which spanned more than three city blocks and encompassed an estimated 15,000 to perhaps 30,000 people), effectively serving as a giant cage. The front and rear of the march were flanked by police buses.

The route of the march was as follows: from Federal Plaza, north on Dearborn to Wacker, then west on Wacker, then (oh crap! I don't remember the rest of the route! Help!), and finally returning to Federal Plaza, at about 8:30 pm.

Many of the protest signs that appeared M20 appeared again on M21. Here are some signs that (at least to me) made their first appearance on M21:

Against the War, Not the Cops
Buy Haliburton stock now! Cheney's counting on huge returns!
Can the Troops Go to Camp David?
How's This a Democracy if we the people have no say-so?
I'm in Shock, not in Awe
If you want peace, better do somethin' 'bout that Bush
Laura, we're worried about George
Sorry, George. Jesus was in fact a peacemaker.
There are no warlike people, just warlike leaders. -- Ralph Bunche
This Ain't No Focus Group
War Without End? Maybe so...
Who's Next?

These and more than 260 other protest signs are in the Protest Slogans Database at the Chicago Media Action website.

Unrelated Update: I called WGN Radio earlier this evening (they were talking about protests and rallies), and I mentioned the Chicago IMC website on the air. Yay!