Protesters march down Main

Chuck Soder and Chuck Soder

More than 200 protesters marched through downtown Bowling Green to the courthouse yesterday afternoon to show that, though the war on Iraq has begun, those against it will not remain silent. The group hoisted signs with phrases like “No Blood for Oil” and “Justice or Just Us?” as they lined the edge of South Main Street next to the post office. Supportive drivers honked their horns. Despite the fact that U.S. troops already entered Iraq earlier that morning, protester Daniel Boudreau said such gatherings still serve a purpose: They let the government know when it is doing something against citizens’ wishes.

“It’s democracy in action — citizens coming out on the street because they’re outraged,” said Boudreau, graduate student and member of the Concerned Citizens of Bowling Green. The group held a similar march in October.

Though Boudreau’s group organized the previous anti-war march, this one was more of an impromptu gathering of several like-minded individuals. Protesters included community members as well as University students and faculty.

They were like-minded in that they all opposed the war, but many had different reasons.

Graduate student Andrew Houck said he would support the war if Iraq posed more of a threat to the United States. Fellow protester Bob Moser supported Houck’s point, arguing that Hussein is unable to attack from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

“They have no ICBMs (Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles),” Moser said. “None of their weapons can reach our country.”

Senior Jenna Comer said there shouldn’t be a need to use force in today’s society.

“I wouldn’t really believe that there could be a justified war,” Comer said.

Though there was no counter protest, the occasional passer-by provided an opposing view.

One group shouted “support the President!” from a car as marchers neared the courthouse. When protesters began gathering in front of the clock tower, a man from the street accused them of not supporting the troops.

Thirty-five countries also side with the United States, according to President Bush. But Boudreau said the country garnered some of that support through pressure.

“It’s like having your foot on the neck of someone much smaller, much weaker and much skinnier than you,” he said, adding that the U.S military presence near Turkey probably led the country to free up its airspace for military use.

After one protester read a poem in front of the court house, the group marched back to the post office singing a song in support of peace. On the way, a veteran walked through the group, arguing that the war is justified.

“I know, because I’ve been there,” he said.

Boudreau encourages people to voice their views, regardless of their opinions.

The Concerned Citizens of Bowling Green will meet today at 4:30 p.m. in 103 East Hall to plan more activism-based events.