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antiwar rally in Zephyrhills


25-50 protesters expected at antiwar rally in Zephyrhills
The Nature Coast Coalition for Peace and Justice picked east Pasco for its rally to represent middle America.
By MOLLY MOORHEAD
St Petersburg Times (Florida)
Published October 14, 2005

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ZEPHYRHILLS - When Brian Moore first began organizing protests against the war in Iraq, he drew fire of all kinds.

Catcalls, obscene gestures and swear words.

But in the past several months, Moore, 62, of Spring Hill said the reactions have shifted.

"We've just seen a sea change," he said, in the form of thumbs-up from drivers and honking horns.

Moore, with the Nature Coast Coalition for Peace and Justice, is organizing for the first time an antiwar protest in east Pasco County. It's scheduled to take place from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday on U.S. 301 in front of Merchant's Square shopping center at the north end of town. Protesters will be lined up along the grass in front of the Hess station, south to the Taco Bell.

"We like to get an intersection where people have to stop and wait for a light, and they can look at us," Moore said.

He expects between 25 and 50 protesters. He has led such events in Hernando and Citrus counties and watched participation steadily increase. A protest two weeks ago in Inverness drew 65.

Their message is simple: end the war in Iraq.

"We want to bring the troops home now. We want an exit strategy with a target date within the next six months," he said.

He added: "We support the troops, but one of the major ways we support them is by bringing them home."

George Boone and his wife, Anna, of Zephyrhills will be among the protesters.

"You have a president in the White House that cannot give you a cause for this war," said Boone, 65. "He says we're fighting for democracy, but that's something he invented since the start of the war."

Boone, who served in the Air Force, is a member of the group Veterans for Peace and says he is opposed to all wars.

"Not only is it immoral, it's insane," Boone said. "It doesn't accomplish anything. No war that we've ever fought accomplished what it was supposed to do."

Moore says the protest is for people of all backgrounds and political parties. The former Democratic and independent candidate for Congress said he works to make the protests nonpartisan.

"We let people express themselves with their own signs. We're a diverse group," he said, adding that signs carry messages ranging from "Impeach Bush" to "Give the troops more armor."

The group chose Zephyrhills as a means of reaching more people, not just those in major cities.

"We want middle America. It's the war - that's the cause," he said.

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