Not everyone loved the parade

Wednesday, July 3, 1991

Not everyone loved the parade

By Scott Braley

SAN FRANCISCO — From a jingoist's viewpoint, the Armed Forces Day Victory Parade here in May was a disaster. The Chamber of Commerce had organised a splashy event to "welcome home the troops" and overcome the "shame" of huge antiwar demonstrations. The chamber had talked about attracting 200,000 to 500,000 people. Local media estimated actual attendance at 20,000, and that was generous.

From interviews along the march, it seemed that the basic reason many joined the parade was not much more than to "support the troops". Most people added some antiwar disclaimer that this war was a one-time thing, the United States should not be the world's policeman, or that now we had to start to address the problems here at home.

Some 300 people from religious, anti-interventionist and anti-imperialist organisations came to oppose this celebration of slaughter. Organised in contingents to vigil, banner or disrupt, the antiwar demonstrators got as much media attention as the "Victory March" itself. Initial worries that a counter-demonstration would lead to physical attacks by military people or their supporters were largely unfounded — confrontations were mostly limited to yelling across barricades and rude gestures. Eleven people, including military resister Jeff Paterson, were arrested as they jumped over police lines to display a banner denouncing the war. — US Guardian

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