Twin Cities grandmothers take to Nicollet Mall to protest the war
As downtown suits, shoppers, and workers flooded onto the streets for their lunch breaks late Thursday morning, a group of some 50 people (mostly women, many grandmothers) from Women Against Military Madness (WAMM) marched down Nicollet Mall to protest against the war in Iraq. Their goal, according to organizer Carol Masters, was to "bring attention to the war." The group chose downtown at lunchtime, hoping to make the pro-peace movement more visible to people they may not typically meet.
They chanted as they walked, ("No more death. No more dollars. Bring the troops home now!") and banged on drums, pots, and Tupperware containers. The response on the street was, according to marcher Mary Ellen Halderson, "very positive. There were no insults, no middle fingers. It confirms that they're thinking 'pro-peace.'" Many on-lookers accepted the yellow leaflets the women were handing out, and when WAMM founding member Polly Mann stopped to tell teenaged boys the reason for the protest was so youngsters wouldn't have to serve in the military, some said "I know" and nodded their heads. By-stander David Wright thought the protest was effective. "It's the most basic thing that people can do—to get together and make noise. It's a good place to start."
Mann compared the role that the women were playing to a mother duck flapping her wings at her chicks. The mother duck is "going crazy," Mann explained. "And you don't know why and then you look over there and there's a fox. We're trying to save the world from corporations. We're not sure [if it's going to work] but we have to do something." She paused to hand WAMM cards to a group of men in suits outside of Masa, but they shook their heads. "Don't you want to be enlightened?" she asked. "I'm enlightened in my own way," one responded. Mann shrugged and walked away, a mother duck momentarily defeated by a fox, before spotting another group of diners to enlighten.