Demonstrators began showing up in front of the courthouse around 12:30, making posters, munching on snacks, and of course- trimming the snow banks to make room for the crowd that would show up (okay, that was actually just me doing the shovelling. And I didn't do a whole lot, people were still spilling onto the streets).
By 1:15, over 200 people were packed between the snowbanks, in front of the courthouse on Queen Street. USWA flags dotted the crowd, along with signs with slogans like "Speak up for peace! La paix! La paix!," "Killing 1 person is murder, killing 500,000 is foreign policy" and "Regime Change Begins at Home!"
Around 1:30, the crowd began to move, circling the courthouse yard, and proceding for Carmen Provenzano's office, (Liberal MP for Sault Ste. Marie) temporarily blocking traffic, as the crowd moved west on Queen St. The crowd was just barely on either side of 300 around this time. Sault Ste. Marie MPP, Tony Martin (NDP) spoke to the crowd, along with Gayle Broad, ONDP President, and bearer of at least a dozen other hats. Heart shaped valentines were distributed through the crowd (unfortunately we ran out!) and people were asked to tape them to Mr. Provenzano's door- unfortunately (or fortunately, from my perspective!) we ran out! The crowd proceeded with chants like "1,2,3,4 We don't want another war, 5,6,7,8 Stop the killing, stop the hate" and "George Bush, hear our cry! No more innocent folks should die!" and marched back to the courthouse.
At one point, I got up in a tree in front of the courthouse and addressed everyone about the importance of the action. It was cold, my mitties were falling off and I was sitting in between three major branches that had collected lots of bitterly cold snow. This is probably the first demonstration I've been to where I felt comfortable chanting, and shouting.
The crowd was a real crossectinon of the city's population. All generations were represented, there were NDP and Green Party activists throughout the crowd, along with students, professors, union members, pensioners, faith groups, and more! There were a couple of dancers and drummers as well. There was a very warm, energetic, and determined atmosphere, despite the below 20 temperatures.
The entire demonstration was pulled together in exactly ONE week. Planning for another demonstration is currently under way. Is the next day of action March 15th? (third saturday of the month- is that what it's been going on?) Please PM me.
This is only the beginning for the peace movement in Sault Ste. Marie.