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Protest in Bush's Backyard
Exuberant anti-war demonstrators outnumbered the population of Crawford, Texas, (705) as they marched through the 1-block downtown area on the first anniversary of the most recent invasion of Iraq. The concept of marching in President Bush's adopted home town captured the imagination of journalists around the world, including even the Arabian //Al Jazeera// news service.
The march route took in two miles of Central Texas as it circled through the city and returned to its origin at Tonkawa Park.All the speakers and entertainers were well received. State Representative Lon Burnam, the only legislature to have voted against Republican House Speaker Tom Craddick and one of the 51 Texas "Killer D's" who fought redistricting by fleeing the state, was a standout as he called for unity in a long-term fight for justice in America.
Captain Shannon Sharrock stood out as the lone representative of Military Families Speak Out. The national organization had lowered their participation after it was announced that independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader would speak. Another high point came when Margarita Alvarez, a survivor of the Guatemalan Civil War, brought her supporters from United Voices for Immigrants on the stage.
With dramatic bilingual phrasing, Alvarez pledged that the victims of U.S. foreign policy would forever join in solidarity with the peace loving people of the United States.Out in the crowd, both the Texas Green Party and supporters of Ralph Nader for President separately solicited petitions to try to meet the state's very strict ballot access law. Peace demonstrations were held throughout Texas' far-flung expanse, but activists in the major cities also worked with the organizers of the Crawford march. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee spoke at a Houston rally.