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A detailed study of 284 demonstrations for peace in the United States on February 15, 2003

On February 15 more than 12 million people all over the world loudly and visibly said no to war in Iraq. A total of between 862,152 and 1,033,874 of these were Americans, accounting for six to nine percent of the demonstrators worldwide.

While the U.S. media focused on the two large protests that occurred in New York and San Francisco, between 222,152 and 333,874 Americans demonstrated for peace in at least 282 other communities of all sizes in all fifty states.

This study is the product of three weeks of research using national and local news sources and direct local organizer contacts. Following this introduction, you will find:

DATA -- a state-by-state breakdown of all anti-war events in the U.S. known to us, listing where each occurred, a low and high participation estimate, and our sources for the information METHODOLOGY -- how we interpreted the data COVERAGE -- how the media told the story

In the course of our research, we discovered a diversity of creative approaches that peace groups used to get their message out. Here are a few demonstrations most Americans probably did not hear about in their local news:

In Maine, Peace Action organized demonstrators in at least twenty-four communities across the state to stand on local bridges, transforming them into "Bridges for Peace." This included demonstrators in Calais who joined Canadians on the bridge connecting the two nations.

In Tucson, Arizona, about 200 protestors broke into small groups and walked or carpooled to gas stations to hold signs reminding consumers of the direct relationship between the nation's foreign policy and their personal dependence on oil.

In Sandpoint, Idaho, the February 15 peace rally marked the beginning of a seven-day, 168-hour continuous peace vigil.

In Atlanta, the International Action Center organized a "Peace Caravan" made up of a large flatbed truck equipped with a sound system, followed by a bus and thirty to fifty vans and cars full of demonstrators. The caravan traveled over forty miles through Atlanta neighborhoods, making stops at six shopping areas with a final rally at the last stop. This strategy spread the message to thousands who would not have seen a stationary event and, according to organizers, elicited honks of approval wherever the caravan traveled.

In Santa Monica, California, a group called Peace on the Beach ended its all-day event by organizing between 5,000 and 6,000 demonstrators into a huge human representation of Picasso's work "The Face of Peace." An aerial photograph of the human artwork can be seen in the Santa Monica Mirror (www.smmirror.com/volume4/issue36/thousands_gather_in.asp)

Every Midwest and Southeast organizer we spoke to mentioned the weather, either snow, freezing rain, or extreme cold. The blizzard that swept much of the country, dumping two feet of snow in many places, certainly reduced overall turnout, yet events went on as scheduled. An organizer in Portsmouth, Ohio, where snow conditions caused the Governor to declare a state of emergency by Sunday morning, told us, "We expected over 200 people, except in the worst-case scenario -- which is what we had." Even so, 75 to 85 Portsmouth residents braved the blizzard.