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Although the clamorous sound of clapping was muffled by gloved-hands, the voices at Saturday’s peace rally to stop the war in Iraq were thunderous.
With snow on the ground, low temperatures and falling flurries, people from Boulder and surrounding areas joined on the Pearl Street Mall, Saturday at noon, to get their message across to stop the funding of the war and to bring home the troops.
Organized by Boulder’s Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center (RMPJC), the protest was just one of many taking place on Saturday. Longmont and Denver also hosted rallies to coincide with a rally in Washington, D.C., where a spokesman for United Peace and Justice said around 400,000 people showed up to protest.
The number of protesters in Boulder was considerably lower than at the rally in D.C., but Carolyn Bninski, international collective staff person at RMPJC, said the turnout was one of the best Boulder has seen in a while.
“There was solidarity with the huge march on D.C.,” Bninski said.
The main point of the rally was to stop the funding of the war.
“After the election, the country sent a message,” Bninski said. “We want to hold congress accountable to stop the war.”
Among the speakers at Saturday’s rally was Boulder Country Commissioner Will Toor.
“Everything we’ve said is true,” Toor said. “It’s about time that George Bush started listening to us.”
Tim Hillman, a graduate student at CU, spoke at the rally and, like many other speakers, led the crowd in chanting: “Stop the funding.” Hillman is part of the Student Environmental Action Coalition at CU, the same group that fasted last year in protest of CU using sweatshop workers to manufacture CU apparel. The Coalition also participated in placing 100,000 flags over the lawn in the Norlin quad last fall. Each flag represented six Iraqi civilians who have died because of the war.
Hillman said there is a link between many of the issues he’s fighting for, such as ending the war in Iraq and sweatshop labor.
“There’s common oppression in one form or another,” Hillman said.
People of all ages gathered on Pearl Street during the protest. One couple pulled their daughter in a sled down the mall during the march that followed the rally from the courthouse to 9th Street.
Erin Temple, a sophomore geology major, came out on the snowy day for her first protest.
“I think it’s a terrible idea that we’re still in Iraq,” Temple said. “I hope (the protest) makes a difference, but being in Boulder, people are already this way.”
Cars honked as protesters lined the sides of Broadway, chanting and waving their homemade signs reading: “Stop sleeping, impeach Bush now,” “Bring the troops home, stop the funding” and “Republicans for Voldemort.”
The RMPJC will be holding another rally in about six weeks for the fourth anniversary of the Iraq war. Visit their Web site at http://www.rmpjc.org/ for more information.