From CBS News, Sept. 15:
Tens of thousands of anti-war demonstrators marched through downtown Washington on Saturday, clashing with police at the foot of the Capitol steps where more than 190 protesters were arrested…
[C]ounterprotest groups, including a contingent of Vietnam veterans called Gathering of Eagles who support the war in Iraq, lined Pennsylvania Avenue and had a verbal battle of chants and slogans.
The arrests came after protesters lay down on the Capitol lawn in what they called a “die in” – with signs on top of their bodies to represent soldiers killed in Iraq. When police took no action, some of the protesters started climbing over a barricade at the foot of the Capitol steps.
Many were arrested without a struggle after they jumped over the waist-high barrier. But some grew angry as police with shields and riot gear attempted to push them back. At least two people were showered with chemical spray. Protesters responded by throwing signs and chanting: “Shame on you.”
The protesters gathered earlier Saturday near the White House in Lafayette Park with signs saying “End the war now” and calling for President Bush’s impeachment. The rally was organized by the ANSWER Coalition and other groups.
Organizers estimated that more than 100,000 people attended the rally and march. That number could not be confirmed; police did not give their own estimate. But there appeared to be tens of thousands of people in attendance.
Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan told the crowd is was time to be assertive.
“It’s time to lay our bodies on the line and say we’ve had enough,” she said. “It’s time to shut this city down.”
About 13 blocks away, nearly 1,000 counterprotesters gathered near the Washington Monument, frequently erupting in chants of “U-S-A” and waving American flags.
Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Robert “Buzz” Patterson, speaking from a stage to crowds clad in camouflage, American flag bandanas and Harley Davidson jackets, said he wanted to send three messages.
“Congress, quit playing games with our troops. Terrorists, we will find you and kill you,” he said. “And to our troops, we’re here for you, and we support you.”
It’s nice to Cindy Sheehan back in the game, but it is unfortunate that she is loaning credibility to the sinister ANSWER.
See our last post on the anti-war effort.