Pro-Military War Rallies Grow in Wake of Ground Offensive

Two rallies in support of U.S. troops fighting in the Gulf drew twice as many participants as a weekly peace demonstration Sunday, police and protest organizers said.

With the ground war less than 24 hours old, about 1,500 people gathered at a pro-military vigil at the Cabrillo National Monument, while another 500 or so marched near downtown to Seaport Village, according to Lt. Tom Giaquingo of the San Diego police.

In Balboa Park, meanwhile, organizers of a weekly anti-war protest estimated that about 700 people chanted and waved placards painted with anti-war slogans such as “Buy Bread, Not Bombs.”

But there were signs that the ground war had brought new urgency to the gathering, organized by the Coalition for Peace in the Middle East.


For the first time, the march was led by a group of college students who danced just ahead of the procession, each grasping a stick of chalk. Every few moments, another student threw himself onto the asphalt as his friends hurried to draw an outline of his body in the street.

“We want to put down as many of these things as possible so people will remember--there could be bodies in them,” Damon Avee, a 21-year-old freshman at San Diego State University, said of the hastily drawn silhouettes, beside which some had scribbled commentaries such as “Friendly Fire” and “No Killing.”