My day began (or continued, as I worked from 7 to 7 the night before and did not manage to sleep before needing to leave for the protesting) with a bus trip to the initial gathering point for the protest. While on the bus I encountered several protesters and spoke with a man who would be unable to attend. The man is an educator who this day would be teaching a blind child with very conservative parents. He jested about taking the child to experience the positive energy of the protests and shared some of his thoughts on the event. It was heartening to talk with others of a like mind before arriving.
When I did arrive a large number of people had already gathered at Grand Parade, showing their opposition to a senseless war and a foul leader beneath a monument meant to honor the sacrifices of those who died to secure freedom. What more fitting living tribute could have been made to those souls than to work to prevent future violence of the sort they opposed and suffered?
I met with my sister Ilea and her boyfriend Greg there and talked with them for much of the time spent waiting for the march to begin. There were speaches given detailing the reasons we were gathered to protest, songs sung and plans shared. Among the highlights of this time was a song by the Raging Grannies, a group of older women who have been in opposition of the invasion of Iraq since before it began.
I was very pleasantly surprised to meet with my former minister Rev. Gary Burrill (author of Away) at the protest. I remember he had organized protests at his churches and is quite a progressive man. I always found him to be congenial and to have a kind and sincere disposition. Ilea mentioned that he had also brought other members of the communities he served and his own children to join in the actions. I have long admired him and am certainly thankful to have him represent his faith and the community I grew up in.
Before long the march to Pier 21 began, with over 4,000 people (4,000 being the low estimate, with some estimates as high as 7,000) filling the street, brandishing many inventive banners, costumes, displays and signs.
It was quite exhilarating to be among so many like-minded people, all gathered for such a noble cause and filled with a sense of positivity and hope.
This protest felt far more communal and convicted than had previous protests I was a part of. I’m not sure why it felt this way, but I was quite moved to be a part of something so positive and grand. Despite the slander those who dislike such protests may spread, the cross section of supporters of this event was truly vast and inclusive. People from multiple nations, all races, many religions, diverse economic backgrounds, education, careers and any other category you could think of joined with us in our opposition of Bush and his agenda.
The march proceeded through the downtown area to near where Bush was to give his speach. There we paused for a time, turning our backs to him. We then moved back to Cornwallis Park to spread our message better to those who might listen (as opposed to Bush, who obviously will not alter his course) among the media and people of Halifax.
The protest was certainly a success. It was peaceful and, I believe, an effective opposition to Bush and a sharing of our beliefs. It seems our efforts were downplayed by most media, but that should not discourage us. What we did on Wednesday was truly noble and will have an impact, even if it’s not an immediate one. It is our right and duty to continue our opposition to Bush and anyone like him who would stand in the way of us achieving a real and lasting peace. Awareness is the key, and we have awakened that in some.
Here are some more photos and some links:
Photos that were once included with this entry have been removed and may now be in my main photo album.
I’d like to thank Brian Larter for sharing most of the photos I’ve included here. He did a great job at visually documenting the protest and was kind enough to permit me to use them here.
The Halifax Peace Coalition organizes most peace protests here in Halifax and shares photos and articles for each of their events. You can find more about this protest in LOUD AND CLEAR – BUSH NOT WELCOME IN HALIFAX. Much thanks must be extended to this wonderful organization for all the great work it does. Photos shared by the organization were taken by Mason Macklem and his photos of the event can be found here.
As a late addition I have some new photos that were shared with me by Zimmute
From CBC: Halifax protest remains peaceful