Monday, March 27, 2006

that's the biggest one i've seen yet

HR4437 Protest - Image from LA Times
And I've seen a lot of them, too. Gran Marcha was, by far, the biggest protest I've seen since I moved downtown in 1991.

Jim and I were having breakfast on Saturday morning, getting ready to hit the Downtown Living Weekend Tour (too bad the tagline wasn't "Rain, Shine, or Protest"), when we saw large crowds of people in white shirts streaming down the street. I didn't have my camera with me, so Jim took a few shots from his pad, and few more when we were in the thick of it. It was a great day to hold a protest, all sorts of downtown events were disrupted, film shoots held up, pedestrian, vehicular, and metro traffic was a nightmare, and other downtown bloggers were all over it.

After hitting a couple loft tours, we headed back to the penthouse to take a few pictures from the roof. My new loftmate Lucas is a Reuters photographer, so he was on the roof as well, taking shots for work.

Jim and I joined the protest at 5th & Broadway. It was great being in the middle of that crowd. It was multi-generational as well as multi-cultural, and one of the most polite protest marches I've ever participated in. Somewhere on Broadway between 5th and 4th, a sound system blared the opening notes to "Imagine" and the crowd started to sing along, some in English, others in Spanish. It sounded great together and to hear voices from all over the street singing loudly.

Further along Broadway, I saw this homeless man standing and watching from the periphery with his hand outstretched. One of the protesters handed him a cigarette and walked on. He stuck it in his mouth and a split second later, another protester walking past him lit his cigarette, then lit his own without breaking his stride.

We left the protest and decided to continue on the loft tour. Walking through Pershing Square, a dazed couple from Australia wandered aimlessly before the man approached me, asking if I knew what was going on as he and his wife had just come off the train to what, I'm sure, looked like chaos. We explained why they were protesting and they seemed to be really taken aback. I used to date an Australian guy, so I understood their surprise that anything was able to motivate Americans to put down the beer and chips, get off the sofa, and actually do something like walk, much less in protest of something.

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