Thousands of protesters organized by anti-war group United for Peace and Justice are expected to rally in Orlando and in 10 other cities on Oct. 27.
But they wonâ??t be alone.
Military supporters including a pro-troop group known as the Gathering of Eagles plan a counter rally to decry what they see as anti-war negativism and to trumpet strong support for the troops.
Organizers with United for Peace, which, according to its Web site, is "a coalition of more than 1300 local and national groups throughout the United States who have joined together to protest the immoral and disastrous Iraq War and oppose our government's policy of permanent warfare and empire-building," anticipate the Orlando event will be the largest peace rally ever held in Florida. Groups such as CODEPINK, a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end the war in Iraq, stop new wars, according to its Web site, are anticipated, and the event is expected to draw protesters statewide and from Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas.
"Americans in Orlando and across the country will take to the streets to reiterate their message, loud and clearâ?? end the U.S. Occupation of Iraq and take war with Iran off the table!" the United for Peace web site explains. "The action, called for by United for Peace and Justice, reflects many Americansâ?? increasing lack of faith in political leadership to fulfill their pledges and to explore every option in ending the American quagmire in Iraq, such as cutting the war funding."
Groups such as the Gathering of Eagles, see the anti-war rallies mated with pro-troops rhetoric as hokum.
"You can't support the troops and embolden the enemies against the troops," says Deborah King-Lile, Florida coordinator of the Gathering of Eagles, a national group dedicated to preventing desecration to veteransâ?? monuments. Groups such as the Eagles must turn out and be seen at these events, she says, so that "eventually somebody is going to cover us and the word is going to get out that this vocal minority is setting policy."
The rally will be from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., and will queue at the northeast corner of Lake Eola Park and include a 3-mile march.
Scheduled speakers include Maurice Robert "Mike" Gravel, a former Alaska senator and current 2008 Democratic Presidential candidate, best known for waging a successful one-man five-month filibuster that forced the Nixon administration to compromise, effectively ending the draft in the United States.