Anti War Protest Staged At Biloxi Town Green - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

01/20/05

Anti War Protest Staged At Biloxi Town Green

A group called "Stop the Madness" staged an anti-war, anti-Bush protest Thursday in downtown Biloxi.

It was a very visible demonstration on the Biloxi town green.

Jim Smith is passionate about his political views. He purposely chose inauguration day to highlight his message and share some controversial viewpoints.

"So, we're just basically going to have a memorial here to the 13 hundred plus men and women who gave their lives in Iraq for the President's policies," said Smith, while addressing a small group of supporters.

Small wooden crosses represented troops killed in Iraq. Homemade signs promoted messages of protest.

"I seen 'em when I was first coming in, by the McDonald's," said Bessie Parker, who came downtown to catch a bus to Ocean Springs.

The longtime Biloxi resident discussed her views of the war while waiting for that bus.

"I feel sorry for the boys over there and it keeps going on. I'll be glad when it ends. I'll be glad to see that happen," she explained.

"Obviously, we're not friends of George Bush. And I'm not afraid to say that in public, you know," said Smith, as he promoted his political views to anyone in ear shot.

Smith expected his event would spark debate. And that it did.

"That's what our government does for the troops after 20 years," said one veteran.

"Political people will change the rules, change the name of the game, and then there you are you know," echoed another.

The determined sign making and choice of music echoed a feel of anti war protests from decades ago.

"Kind of sparked my interest, being inauguration day I thought had something to do with it," said Woolmarket resident, Sherrie Handler.

"I don't know if I agree with his message, but you know he's got a right to be here. Glad he has that opportunity in America," she stated.

"We had a few folks that came by and voiced their displeasure. We talked to 'em. And some of 'em we couldn't talk to," Smith admitted.

Only a few supporters gathered for a noon hour message. But for Smith, the only numbers that matter much are the growing numbers of crosses.

By the way, Smith's group paid rent to the City of Biloxi for using the town green. The rental fee was the standard 50 dollars charged to any group wanting to use the site.

By Steve Phillips

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