So I rode my bike to where people would gather for critical mass in North park. Cops started to show up on bikes, then on motorcyles, there was a paddy waggon parked at the corner and almost before we rode about 6 cops on horseback arrived. We waited till about 1 o'clock and then took off. There was about 50 people including 2 people on skateboards, and a family with a baby. I had never been to a critical mass bike ride before and was expecting it to be all pro riders but in fact their were alot of people there for their first time too.
Most of the time we were riding like 5 mph. It was a pretty laid back comfortable ride. We took the road of El Cajon BLV, and then to park and onto university. At which point the cops had previously told us that we would be able to take up 2 lanes, but were then squeezxing us into one lane. We held an intersection and didint move till they backed off and we took the 2nd lane too. Through out the ride there were chears and chant like "bikes not bombs" "no justic no peace, BIKES TAKE THE STREETS" and even my personal favorit cheer "RESIST" We had alot of people cheering us on, and we had only a few people flip us off or start talking shit. The whole way the cops on motorcycle were blocking traffic for us and pretty much leading the way,(we had previously told them our route) while on 4th st a few people managed to escape said route and take a left and then go back up 5th st. the motorcycle cops got all confused like "hey these people are not following the rules." We rode back down 6th and met with the other marches on Laurel.
I'd say there was anywhere from 1000-2000 people at the ralley point. Beautiful assortment of all kind of people. There was a stage where the speakers would Speak, read beautiful poetry, sing some really funny and sad songs, and just have fun in gerneral. A part of the park was taken up by hundreds of pairs of shoes and boots to signify the 571 dead american troops, and thousands of wounded troops. Tons of banners with various slogans from many groups and coalitions. I saw and embraced so many old friends that I had not seen for almost a year, since the old marches at the federal building. Lots of tables with books, pamphlets, flyers, and buttons lots and lots of buttons..(I like buttons) And although I didnt get to eat any I heard that "food not bombs" was serving ther. too...
At about 3:30 a group of us that had come on bikes got together to ride back to where we had started. about 15 people on bikes took over the streets one more time from balboa park all the way back down to north park. This tiem with no police presence it was more liberating, we didn't feel like sheep being herded. A handfull of us were hungry so we stopped and ate some really good mexican veggy food (that I had never tried before yummy)and we split. I rode my bike back to the trolley station at city college, but it was me ridding by myself at this point so I couldnt take a lane all to myself :( on the trolley I was confronted by some people asking me what my buttons were about and if I was part of "the crazy protesters" "and why are you doing it is the war has been over" I proudly said yes I was and tried to explain to them what the reason we were out there was all about. Explaining to them about how the "war" might be over but the occupation is still rampant. After calling me "ignorant" they got off the trolley and I sat down and read my book. Some people will not accept the truth or another point of view if it hit them on the head.
well yeah thats today in a nutshell
Stretched Out Prince O(+>
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It's true that some ppl would rather stay ignorant...it's sad really, but hopefully one day they'll get it.
But it looks like you had a fun day and that the protests went well. Good stuff!
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Good article! I just have to say that was one of the "best" of the peaceful days of protest I have ever been apart of. I really enjoyed the day. I was at first nervous heading to North Park wondering if anyone would be there. When I first arrived there was but one biker there and many cops driving around. However within a few minutes many many more arrived. Then was we rode down 6th towards the rally site and saw the two other marches converging onto the rally site I was in awe. So many people came out it was great. This goes to show that the movement is still alive. Yet we must continue to take each one of these rallies to the next level. Saturday was one of the most unique anti-war protest I have ever been to. The spirit was so high that day. Lets continue to unite and fight against this system that is oppressing the world. Move forward never backwards! The street is where the revolution takes place.
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