What's the Difference? 

Anti-War Protest Goes From Roar to Whimper

Blame the rain. Blame public apathy. Whatever the reason, Sunday's anti-war march was a mere whisper compared to the massive protest two years ago, when 25,000 residents flooded Waterfront Park and pleaded with President Bush to stop his invasion of Iraq.

Marking the two-year anniversary of the U.S. invasion, 1000 activists crowded into a pavilion on the PSU campus. The requisite drum corps was on the scene, along with activist group Code Pink, who arrived with a black coffin carried by four women draped in pink rain ponchos. By the time the demonstration began its march through downtown, the parade stretched nearly two city blocks. The mood was largely amiable, with little friction between activists and police.

Despite its upbeat appearance, the prevailing attitude of the march seemed to be one of resignation, as opposed to the stern optimism of two years past, and during last year's election. One longtime activist wryly answered the Mercury's question about what he thought the day's demonstration could accomplish: "I think Bush will realize his mistakes and pull out," he joked with a broad smile.

Another protester giggled nervously when asked the same question, answering: "Nothing." Still another activist explained it was becoming harder to find the motivation to get out and march. "I'm just so burned out," he said. "We haven't won anything in forever," he added. "It makes it tough to carry on."

Across the country--and in several European nations--protesters marked the two-year anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq with protests and marches. The most successful were held in New York and especially in San Francisco where activists temporarily shut down the port to draw attention to a war they claim is being fought primarily for corporate and commercial interests. But even these protests grabbed little mainstream media attention, landing on page 25 of the Sunday New York Times and a brief mention on NPR.

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