(Host) Demonstrators took to the streets of a number of Vermont towns and cities last night. They were part of a national wave of protests, calling on Congress to block the president’s plan to send 20,000 more troops to Iraq.
VPR’s Susan Keese was in Bellows Falls, where people converged at a downtown intersection.
(Sounds of protest)
(Keese) The protests were organized by Move-on-dot-org, the online political action organization.
About fifty people turned out in Bellows Falls. They carried candles and signs that said, Out of Iraq, and Bring them home.’
(Hill) “We’re in opposition to what’s happening to sending more troops over there — more people dying for a cause that seems to be lost.”
(Keese) Stephen Hill of Westminster was there with his wife and son and two-year-old granddaughter.
Rockingham Selectboard member Anne DiBernardo said she stopped protesting after the war started.
(DiBernardo) “Because I felt we needed to show support for our troops over there. And then when I heard Bush’s speech last night I thought, We can’t support this war anymore. We’ve had enough death over there. We’ve spent enough money and it’s just time, time to stop.”
(Keese) Not everyone in Bellows Falls agreed with the protestors. Up the street at the Pierce Lawton American Legion post, Mike Brennan was playing cards with some fellow- World War II vets.
(Brennan) “We’re into the thing, what’re we going to do, run? Get in there and do the job and go home.
(Other men) I agree. Yeah. I third the motion. If we pull out of there we’ll be the laughing stock of the world.”
(Keese) But Andrew Rogers, a Vietnam vet heading into the Legion Hall, says he agrees with the protestors. He says the Bush plan lacks clear vision.
(Rogers) “And 20,000 thousand troops aren’t going to make a difference. It’ll just be a lot more casualties and eventually the country will collapse like Vietnam did. We bolstered American-supported governments and once we left, they were history.”
(Keese) All three of Vermont’s Congressional delegates have come out against sending more troops.
For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Susan Keese.