On February 16, 2003, peace rallies were held around the world, boasting massive turn-out. San Francisco's rally was held one day later, because the Chinese New Year parade had long been scheduled for February 16. Organizers worried that the San Francisco rally might seem like an after-thought, and that attendance could be low.

Um, not a worry, folks. The police estimated 200,000 marchers, organizers estimated 250,000, and a shadowy group, somehow outfitted with high-tech survailence devices in a small airplane, estimated 60,000.

I was there. At times the crowd was so big I felt just a little concerned about being crushed. I'm going to go with the police estimate.

Hell, there's over 60,000 people in the pictures I took. Here's a few of them.

I went first to the end of the march route, which was lucky. So many people had showed up, there was no room left at the starting point. In fact, the march had to begin an hour early, because so many people were showing up. Right away I took a look at the stage; I never got this close again!

Then I tried to make my way back to the official starting point. I made it several blocks back, before the onrushing tide of people grew too large. I held my ground for a little while and took some pictures. Then I was swept forward.

The only way to get pictures was to hold the camera up over my head, as high as I could reach.

People who lived along the route seemed to enjoy it. I wondered why they didn't come down.

Several of these huge doves appeared, all along the route. The breeze made them flap, as if flying.

All considered, animals were well-represented.

They looked like they had done this together before, maybe in the 1970's?

They looked like newbies...

Street-wide banners showed that people had given some thought to the march.

There were also a couple of gross-out effigies, with red paint all like coming out of their mouths and stuff.

Groups of singers, dancers, and drummers were all over the route. Here's The Threshold Choir.

A very small area was dedicated to counter-protesters. I don't think any minds were changed.

Toward the end I worked my way around backstage, so I could get a picture of the huge crowd, stretching out beyond the Plaza. I held my camera up above my head and took another blind shot. But once again, I failed to capture a sense of how big this rally was. Once again, I caught the faces of individuals, of persons who gave up their Sunday off to come out and say something they thought was important.

I really love this country!

United for Peace and Justice, Bay Area United Against War, International ANSWER, and Not in Our Name sponsored this rally.

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