On September 11, 2013, A “rally against fear” and March against Drones organized by a Muslim group and by a group that disputes the accounts of what happened on 9-11-2001 was harassed by thousands or right-wing bikers and dozens of extreme fundamentalist Christians.
I don’t buy the arguments made by some that Bush directly ordered the 9-11 attacks, but I do buy the right of protesters saying that not to be intimidated off the street by a Mad Max like swarm of bikers. The fundamentalist Christians looked like the “God Hates Fags” Phelps crew, but bikers and someone in a Blackwater T-shirt said they were someone else with similar looking signs.
A considerable danger of violence by rogue elements among the “2 million biker ride to DC” accompanied this event, even though organizers of the bikers demanded that no violence be used. Fortunately, the bikers turned out to be mostly middle-class riders and not gangsters on wheels. The Fundamentalist Christians were not numerous enough to challenge the march, even though the march itself was also rather small.
I don’t know whether the originally planned rally against US violation of Muslims’ civil rights and the march against drones were hurt by association with “9-11 truth,” by the threat of violence keeping people away, or both. I do know that this was one of the ugliest situations I’ve seen in years. Last time it was like this was I was in Harper’s Ferry to counterprotest the Klan and we were outnumbered. The most dangerous moments were the second rally, at the US Capitol. It was in a small position, heckled by the Fundies and some of the bikers dismounted to stand as close as the cops would allow them. One woman from the right-wing crowd attempted to incite a riot by screaming the same thing at protesters over and over again, trying to draw an attack from the protest. Nobody took the bait, one near-miss was calmed down.
This was followed by the rest of the march, back to the White House for a closing rally, where a couple more Fundamentalist Christians set up loudspeakers to heckle. Those Fundamentalists displayed extremely Islamophobic signs and screamed religious insults at the Muslims in the march. They differ from the Taliban/Saudi Wahabbis only in what name they use for their God, and little else. I am sure they would gladly stone every Muslim in the US if they could. One of the worst of their signs said “God has a pressure cooker for every Muslim.” Yes, he probably WOULD say that to Muslims who ran in this year’s Boston Marathon.
There will be another Rally Against Fear next September 11, and therafter as long as they are needed according to the rally’s organizers. Probably that means we will have to repeat this whole mess with the Fundamentalist Christians and the bikers next year as well.
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