The League of Young Voters

Wednesday’s Protest, retrospective — by Mea Tavares
March 20, 2008, 7:33 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Hey everyone,

I know this is late notice, I just heard about it myself, but is hosting a vigil in Monument Square at 12pm today to mark the 5th anniversary of the Iraq war. I know many of you work or are in classes at that time, and that it’s only 2 hours away, but I thought I would get the word out.

I’m going to try to go. 5 years ago, late on the night of March 18th when the first bomb was dropped by US planes, I was in a final tech rehearsal for a show at USM. As soon as I was out, my friend Emma and I grabbed our sleeping bags and went to Monument Square.

I don’t even remember where I got the idea to go there. I think somewhere, someone had told me on a street corner “go to monument square if anything happens”. So we went. There were a handfull of people there, all surprised that anyone else showed up in the cold. We all sat around that first night, people leaving one by one as the hours dragged on, until somewhere around 3 or 4 in the morning when Emma and I were the only ones left. We got in our sleeping bags and layed down on the cobblestone.

The next morning more people showed up. A guy named Bill brought us oatmeal. Word spread that people were gathering in Monument Square to protest the war, and soon there were upwards of 200 people there every day. There were giant signs, dance parties, marches down busy streets…Food Not Bombs set up a table, local stores donated coffee and bread. We held demonstrations in busy streets during the day, it was an incredible time to feel a voice shared by an entire city.

It became known as “Peace Park”, and we occupied it until April 1st. People would take turns sleeping outside under the monument, and in the morning people would show up again and the demonstrations would continue. There were cameras everywhere, and yet word didn’t spread further than the sound of the drums. And yet it was there, and everyone who went remembers it.

So, I am going to try to go today at noon. It saddens me that 5 years later, people still have to gather at the monument to protest this war. It saddens me that 5 years later, the energy that was once there; the drumming, the dancing, the yelling until you lost your voice, has been reduced to taking an hour off of work to stand together. 5 years too long. But I’m going to try to go.


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