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'Mourners' protest Bush

Anti-inaugural demonstrators lament the start of Bush's second term in office

While President George W. Bush was attending his inaugural celebration in Washington, D.C., black-clad mourners assembled at Medford's Hawthorne Park to begin a three-hour anti-inaugural demonstration that would end at Vogel Plaza.

We are gathered here to mourn our losses under the Bush administration and to celebrate our vision for a better future, said Grady Boyd of Ashland's Peace House, speaking to the 100 or so men, women and children standing in the cold mist.

Boyd helped organize the Oct. 14 anti-Bush demonstration in Jacksonville that ended with sheriff's deputies and state police shoving demonstrators and firing pepperballs into the crowd.

Boyd urged demonstrators to remain peaceful regardless of potential harassment. Medford police assured the leaders they would do their best to assure the safety of the group.

Have fun, said one officer.

— As the group began to carry their black Democracy casket toward the town center, the swirling dirge of 16-year-old Elias Alexander's bagpipes filled the foggy air.

It's a lament for the fact this great nation has a president who isn't doing good things for people all over the world, the Ashland youth said.

En route to join Women in Black for a half-hour silent peace vigil, the marchers were offered cheers and thumbs-up from spectators.

Applegate resident Tana Domecq-Davis' sign read Live Free or Die Bold.

We're not going to roll over and forget about this, she said. Too many lives have been lost. Too many rights have been wronged.

While the expanding crowd of 300 stood silent, comments of passersby were not always positive. A few drivers shouted their displeasure.

George Bush is fighting for your right to do this, yelled one man in a silver coupe.

Karen Schnabel held a picture of her son, Zacariah,in his Army uniform. The weathered lettering around the yellowing photo said, Your freedom is not free.

Schnabel's son is not stationed in Iraq; he serves in Qatar in the Middle East. But she still worries, and she has not seen him in five years, she said.

My son is over there fighting for the people who are driving by screaming obscenities, said Schnabel. And he'd be the first one to say so.

Representatives of environmental, peace, civil rights and veterans organizations spoke while a disgruntled King George Bush figure sat silently on a red throne.

Veteran Hal Anthony of Peace House in Grants Pass called for the end of a stupid, stupid, senseless, needless war. He urged participants to call the Capitol operator at 1-800-TEX5ARM and voice their objections to the administration's policies.

It's our new nickname for Bush. He's from Texas and he has an arm in everything, said Anthony. Tell everyone about this number. Use it.

The Rev. Paul Robinson, former pastor of the Medford Congregational United Church of Christ, was the last speaker before the dwindling crowd.

Robinson also exhorted everyone to write, make phone calls and remain involved.

We are not a people of hype. We are a people of hope, said Robinson. And we are not going to give up this country.

The remaining 100 or so demonstrators closed the event by singing Woody Guthrie's anthem, This Land is Your Land.

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Protesters stand in silence at an anti-inaugural demonstration Thursday at Vogel Plaza in Medford. About 300 gathered for the event, which included a march from Hawthorne Park in which protesters carried a casket named ?Democracy.? Mail Tribune / Jim Craven - Mail Tribune Jim Craven