- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 22, 2001

NEW YORK The first peace march in New York last night inspired waves of unpeaceful sentiment, as 1,500 protesters marched through the city.
The demonstrators snarled traffic and drew snarls as they walked up Park Avenue, over to the Avenue of the Americas and to Times Square.
"This is a disgrace," said Keith Valenti, 25, a restaurant manager. He came out of his Park Avenue establishment to stare at the passing throng. "This whole thing, the possibility of war, is about the safety of these people. And they don't even know that."
His friend wasn't as charitable. He denigrated the protesters with caustic, profane insults.
"I am just livid," the man said.
In response, the demonstrators offered Mr. Valenti and his enraged pal leaflets and flashed them the peace sign.
Motorists were doubly angry. Besides tangling with their opposing views, the march tied up traffic.
One man jumped out of a sport utility vehicle with his fists clenched, until he saw a New York police officer trying to keep the traffic moving.
The marchers ended up at Times Square outside the U.S. Army recruitment headquarters, where they faced a beefed-up police patrol.
"I was down at the site digging," said one police officer who was directing traffic. "They told me they needed a whole bunch of people here."
Around 9:30 p.m., riot-gear-equipped police began shoving demonstrators and onlookers to clear the sidewalk in Times Square.
As if to taunt the demonstrators, a giant public video screen in the square ran news of President Bush's vow Thursday night to rally the nation behind a war against terrorism.
The peace march came a couple of days late to New York, on the heels of rallies in several college towns throughout the nation.
In Berkeley, Calif., 1,000 people gathered this week to protest what appears to be pending military action by the United States in response to last week's attacks on Washington and New York, which killed an estimated 6,500 people.
Harvard University, the University of Michigan, and the University of Wisconsin also saw demonstrations as part of a "Stop the War" coalition that launched demonstrations on more than 30 campuses nationwide.
"This is the belly of the beast and this is where we need to be active," said a protester named Amy, as she drew up posters before last night's rally.
"No military retaliation," she wrote delicately in large poster board in thick black Magic Marker. Her idea joined others that were very similar.
"Don't create more terrorists," "Resist the racist war" and the plaintive "Stop scapegoating" were among the sentiments in banners that were held high above the crowd
The protestors drew from all age ranks, from a 59-year-old man from Westchester, N.Y., who said, "Yeah, I was there, doing the same thing in the '60s," to younger protest veterans, such as Harold Moss.
The 30-something New Yorker has been an activist for 15 years and said he is encouraged by the enthusiasm his fellow city denizens show for peace.
"We are now starting to have two to three events a day, from teach-ins to vigils, and they are drawing," Mr. Moss said. "These are not marginal opinions at all."
Nor was the view of Lexie Rouse, 20, a student from Los Angeles.
"Of course, I'm for peace. But in this situation, they've left us with no option."
She watched the long line of demonstrators march down Sixth Avenue and laughed.
"It's like they think they're in the Sixties or something," she said. "They look kind of funny."

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