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For the week of January 22 - 28, 2003

News

Valley residents participate in peace march

Rallies coincide with birthday
of Martin Luther King, Jr.


"I think today is a real turning point in the country. There are peace walks and marches all over the world and I think people are getting the message that people want peace."

ó MARGARET McDONALD STEWART, Peace march co-organizer


By GREG MOORE
Express Staff Writer

About 150 Wood River Valley residents added their voices to those of many thousands more across the country on Saturday as rallies denounced American war preparations against Iraq.

Shortly after the sun dropped behind Bald Mountain, the local protestors met at Memory Park in Ketchum before marching down Main Street.

Approximately 150 people turned out Saturday afternoon for a peace march, which coincided with marches elsewhere in the country and around the world. Margaret MacDonald Stewart, one of the organizers of this second peace rally in Ketchum, spoke briefly at Memory Park to the crowd before they set off on a march through downtown. Express photos by Willy Cook

"I think today is a real turning point in the country," Margaret McDonald Stewart, one of the rallyís organizers, told them. "There are peace walks and marches all over the world and I think people are getting the message that people want peace."

With the air becoming chillier by the minute, Stewart kept her words brief, but emphasized to the crowd that "we are the people who I think are the true patriots."

The crowd formed into a line and began marching down the sidewalk on the east side of Main Street. Several large clusters of bright balloons with "peace" written on them added color to the formation. Placards stated "Drop Bush not bombs," "Patriots for peace," "$ for education not war" and "War is terrorism." Drivers of passing cars honked their horns in support.

The marchers included old people, younger single people and families.

"My Mom wanted to do it and it seemed like fun," said Nicol Wheeler, 10, a Hailey resident. "I donít want war. I donít want anyone to die. I donít want any of our American soldiers to die."

Ned Wheeler and Jini Griffith participated Saturday in the peace march down Main Street and back to Memory Park. Many homemade signs were displayed including "What we do unto others we do unto ourselves," "No blood for oil," "Patriots for Peace" and "Yes to regime changeóof heartóin D.C. now" Express photos by Willy Cook

Several marchers said they donít believe President George W. Bushís expressed motives in threatening Iraq.

"There are dictatorships that are oppressing people all over the world," said Sun Valley resident Rhys Wilkie. "Why do we single out Saddam Hussein?"

"Itís not about national security," said Hailey resident Tina Cole. "Itís about U.S. oil interests."

Among the marchers were state Rep. Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum, and Blaine County Commissioner Sarah Michael.

Bellevue resident Megan McMahon said she had lots of friends protesting in Washington and San Francisco.

"I wanted Sun Valley to be on that list," she said.

The rallies were timed to coincide with the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., and several of the speakers at the Washington event referred to him as a man of peace. The Associated Press estimated that at least 150,000 protestors marched more than a mile from the Capitol to the Washington Navy Yard. At a rally on the National Mall, speakers included the Rev. Al Sharpton, a Democratic presidential candidate, and former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark.

Tens of thousands of people were estimated to have attended the San Francisco march. One former Ketchum resident called during the march there and said heíd run into a few other former valley residents. He added that he was wearing a muumuu and was carrying a sign that said, "Go solar, not ballistic."

Police in Portland, Ore., said about 20,000 attended the protest there. Other events were held in several Middle Eastern countries, France, Italy and Germany.

"When there is a mass consciousness all over the world, it makes a difference in changing thought forms," said Ketchum marcher Char Roth. "I really do believe that love is better than fear."

 

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