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Protesters rally for peace

“I’ve been taking part in such marches in Santa Cruz since 1969 and this one is incredibly large,” Rotkin said.” I can tell you that this is the largest crowd I have even seen in front of the county building.”
Protesters rally for peace

<www.zwire.com/news/newsstory.cfm>

Feb 18 2003
By TARMO HANNULA
OF THE REGISTER-PAJARONIAN

In concert with more than 600 cities around America and dozens of cities worldwide, anti-war marchers in Santa Cruz took to the streets with a strong message of “No War With Iraq” Saturday.
Between 5,000 and 7,000 people attended Saturday’s rally according to Lt. Patty Sapone of the Santa Cruz Police department. Protestors toted signs, huge puppets, banners, fliers and costumes along the one-mile route from the Santa Cruz County Building to Mission Plaza.
Former mayor and current City Council member Mike Rotkin said he felt that the peace march was the largest he had seen in Santa Cruz.
“I’ve been taking part in such marches in Santa Cruz since 1969 and this one is incredibly large,” Rotkin said.” I can tell you that this is the largest crowd I have even seen in front of the county building.”
Sponsored by the Santa Cruz Peace Coalition and the Resource Center for Non-Violence, the massive march was preceded by a rally at the county building. Swarms of people, from families with children and pets, to seniors, people in wheelchairs, on crutches and bicycles, gathered to hear several speakers drive home the idea that a U.S bombing campaign and war with Iraq was not acceptable.
Ruth Hunter, who said she has passed the 86-year-old mark, said she was inspired by the wide turnout. Through a sound system on the county building steps she told the audience: “I believe the tide is turning and the world is turning away from war.” She said she was one of the 500 people arrested in Seattle at the WTO protests several years ago and she regularly attends an anti-war demonstration every Friday at the corner of Ocean and Water streets in Santa Cruz. Hunter later said she attended the peace march in San Francisco on Sunday where attendance was estimated at least 150,000.
Lt. Sapone said the march in Santa Cruz appeared to be well organized and offered police little problems.
“We want the traffic to flow and no one to get hurt,” Sapone said. “This crowd has been cooperative and easy going.”
Several marchers took time to break away from the crowd to pay thanks to Sapone and the Santa Cruz police for working with the marchers.
Vietnam War veteran Frank Sandt, 59, who carried a hand-made sign that read, “Veterans Against War,” said he felt he had to attend the march. “I’m against war and I think it’s disgraceful how our country treats our veterans,” Sandt said. “I’ve had a lot of friends die in there 40s from Agent Orange: That is wrong. I will always be against war.”
Stuart Carlson, a member of the group, Cowboys for Peace, said the peace march and rally Saturday was a positive experience for his group. “This demonstration has been very empowering,” Carlson said.
 
 


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