A massive anti-war demonstration surged through Salt Lake City Saturday afternoon, led by drumbeats, a blaring bull horn and chants of "No blood for oil!"
Filling the streets from curb to curb, the demonstrators marched from the Federal Building to the Salt Lake City-County Building. The marchers stretched for nearly a city block. By the time they reached their destination, where they heard speeches and Bob Dylan songs, the crowd had grown to at least 1,500.A peculiar mix of ages was represented, from elderly women and World War II veterans, to Vietnam era middle-aged counterculture types, to students too young to remember that war. Many youngsters wore clothing that was a resurrection of the youth revolt of the '60s - tie-dyed skirts and high boots, flowers in long hair, blue jeans, peace-emblem jewelry.
A girl who looked as if she must have been born after the evacuation of Saigon sported a blue peace emblem on one cheek with the word "peace" beneath it.
Echoing an earlier era or not, most were obviously fiercely sincere in opposing the war in the Middle East.
Their placards had such slogans as "America loves killing," "Rich man's war! Poor man's fight!" "No more war," "Get It Over With," "OUT NOW," "Real men negotiate - wimps wage war," "NO DRAFT," "Pray for peace," and "BUSH started this war let him fight it."
A placard carried a drawing of President Bush with blood-red hands. "Kinder, gentler?" it asked. Another queried, "Should Americans die while rich Kuwaitis go shopping in Europe?"
The march was sponsored by the Utah Coalition Against U.S. War in the Middle East. A young man who was helping to videotape the event said he was with the coalition.
One group did not voice opposition to the war so much as a main idea behind it - Bush's insistence that the United Nations' stopping aggression by Iraq was the start of a new world order.
These included Libertarians opposed to the country's membership in United Nations, and young men with shaved heads. One of these carried a Confederate flag, and his jacket had a cloth shield-like badge with the word "Honky" embroidered on it. Asked what that means, he said, "White man."
The man, who said his name is Troy but refused to give his last name said, "I don't think we should be there (in the Middle East), but I support the troops that are there now . . ." He said no more should be sent.
"But our main issue is stop the world order," he added.
As the demonstrators gathered on the Federal Building plaza at noon, a car passed, its occupants chanting "Support President Bush." They were greeted by an upraised finger from one of the anti-war demonstrators.
A group of about 20 protesters marched in a circle chanting "Support our troops, bring 'em home now." Meanwhile, hundreds more milled on the plaza, carrying signs, talking, checking out literature from Socialists who had set up tables.
A pro-choice activist passed out fliers about an upcoming rally concerning abortion.
One man sat on the plaza playing his guitar, two children in a wagon beside him. He sang, "You got the power to choose."
Simone Seikaly, of Salt Lake City, one of the demonstration's organizers, asked the crowd what they thought of the government spokesmen and the media. "They're liars," dozens roared.
Seikaly and other speakers stood on a newly constructed platform built of two-by-four boards, their voices ringing out through huge amplifiers.
She coached the group on ignoring hecklers and avoiding trouble during the march. "We're here protesting violence, not creating it," she said.
Larry Chadwick, a Vietnam veteran, said he had just talked to a soldier from Salt Lake City who is in Saudi Arabia. He "wants to come home walking," he said.
"I say we want peace, we want it now, and let it start with us today," Chadwick told the group. "Right now, as we speak, the largest air raid possibly ever is going on. It's going on in our name, against our will."
Chuck Hunt, a sociology professor at the University of Utah, said the Pentagon briefings on the war "try to present it as a Nintendo game. Well, people die in this game."
He accused Bush of trying to promote "the ruling elite in this country" under the guise of creating a new world order. Minorities and women are paying a disproportionate price in the war, he added.
Kristin Rushforth, a senior majoring in English at Brigham Young University, told the rally that she represented 127 BYU students who are in a group opposed to the war. She talked of men ripping down their anti-war banner, and tearing up fliers to throw them in a woman's face.
"We never knew how difficult non-violence truly is," she said.
"At this critical moment of world history, we must not teach children lessons of hate and violence."
As the procession left the plaza and headed west on 100 South, it passed a small pro-administration rally, where about a dozen Utahns waved flags and sang the national anthem. They were soon drowned out by a drum carried by the protesters and the loud chant, "No blood for oil!"
In the lead was a long white banner bearing the words, "No U.S. War in the Middle East - Bring the Troops Home."
They chanted slogans alternated as the mass of people marched along the blocked-off streets, following two slow-moving police cars. "One, two, three, four, we don't want your bloody war," they shouted for a time. After a while, some chanted a more obscene version.
"Hell no, we won't go, we won't fight for Texaco," was a popular refrain.
Other chants were, "No more war, U.S. out now!" and "Not for kings, not for oil, we won't die on Arab soil!"
A passerby cut across the street in front of the crowd and said quietly, "In five years you'll be dying on American soil." Meanwhile, the chanting changed to singing, "All we are saying, is give peace a chance."
Motorcycle police drove on the sidewalk along Main Street, trying to keep up with the crowd, where young people held up the peace V sign and waved peace emblems.
An American flag looked as if it had been packed away among anti-Vietnam memorabilia for more than two decades. Its field was spangled with stars of many colors, and cut out to form a peace emblem. "PEACE is the only POWER" was written on the stripes.
"What do we want?" chanted a leader.
"Troops home!" the crowd roared.
"When do we want it?"
At other times, they chanted a question about how do we support the troops, with the answer, "Bring 'em home now!" Then there was a yell, "Hey, hey, Uncle Sam, we remember Vietnam."
As they passed a building under construction, a worker made the thumbs-down sign and shouted, "Cowards! Wimps! Cowards!" His words were drowned out by a thunderous, "No blood for oil! No blood for oil!"
At the City-County Building, speakers stood at the western entrance and amplifiers carried their words to the hundreds below.
Peter Appleby, chairman of the U. philosophy department, stressed that he spoke for himself and some of his family, not for the U. "I speak because I am a patriot, and because once again, as I was 25 years ago, I am ashamed," he said.
"I want no one to desecrate my flag, and that begins with George Herbert Walker Bush." Appleby talked about atrocities in countries where the United States has not intervened, such as Cambodia. Those countries differ from the gulf because the Persian Gulf War is about oil, according to Appleby.
"We only have time to buy votes in the U.N., to make deals with the Chinese" in this situation, he said.
A speaker who said he was with the United Steelworkers Union accused the government of sponsoring war to help big business. "This is not a war to preserve democracy in Kuwait because there isn't any," he declared.
Arlinda Parr of the Women's League for Peace and Freedom predicted, "Every day we shall see old men burying the flower of our manhood and womanhood" because of the war.
Speaking of detailed reports about the air war, she said, "Ask yourself if we will get the same coverage when the ground battles begin and the results of hand-to-hand combat lie on the desert sands," she said.
Marthieu Stout, a youth who said he was "17 and eleven twelfths," told the Deseret News, "I think that our country needs to worry about our environment and our people, and when we are fighting for oil, all we are fighting for is the greenhouse effect and we're fighting to destroy the future of our children."