While the overall anti-war protest was remarkably small this year -- just a few thousand at most -- the counter-protest was also smaller than in previous years. The core group numbered only a dozen or so, which swelled to about 25 when various independent and wildcat counter-protesters joined in at various times.
Of course, to the far-left anti-war crowd, these counter-protesters were the worst of the worst, and were imagined to embody every conceivable stereotype they've ever ascribed to what they imagine are their ideological opponents: right-wing fascist neo-nazi ignorant redneck mouth-breathing racist backwoods born-again Christian redneck wingnut knuckledragging Neanderthals. Whatever their actual beliefs were, these counter-protesters seemed to be the only people at the rally who had any sense of humor whatsoever; "9-11 Was an Outside Job" was easily the funniest sign I'd seen all month.
But the humor-challenged revolutionaries did not appreciate being mocked, especially by people they presumed to be their inferiors, so they quickly surrounded the counter-protesters and demanded their ouster from the rally.
"Demanded their ouster" is of course a euphemism for "screamed at and threatened" until the cops had to intervene to prevent violence being wreaked upon the -- well, let's just call them unapologetic patriots.
(Photo courtesy of jackanape4)
The scene is pretty chaotic, but this video shows the police escorting the unapologetic patriots through the menacing anti-America crowd, as people yell "Get out of here!" and "All these Nazis got to go!" and "Way to go, Nazis!" and generally exhibit glee that they have succeeded (as they perceive it) in driving out the bad guys. Meanwhile, the patriots seemed to take it all in good fun.
The police brought the patriots to a safe location in front of City Hall, while their pursuers had to satisfy themselves with screaming insults and abuse from across the street.
The unapologetic patriots just laughed and taunted them silently with American flags.
The standoff continued for quite some time.
The police eventually had to set up a cordon around the counter-protesters for their safety.
(Photo courtesy of Aaron D.)
Here's a good close-up of my favorite sign of the day, taken by fellow shutterbug Aaron D.
This couple were not part of the main core of counter-protesters, and earlier in the day on Market Street calmly displayed a pro-police message in the face of hundreds of people shouting anti-police slogans.
Another independent counter-protester brought a rather oddly made sign that nonetheless featured one of Orwell's best quotes.