AP NEWS
Related topics

Women’s march makes peaceful return at Coos Bay Boardwalk

January 23, 2018 GMT

COOS BAY — Roughly 300 people were out on the boardwalk in downtown Coos Bay on Saturday for the return of the Women’s March.

The nationwide success of last year’s Women’s March caused many communities, including Coos Bay, to take up signs and march for equality.

While many of the protesters didn’t actually march there was a group of people who walked up and down U.S. Highway 101 several times, led by Karen Lonon-Jones. Lonon-Jones did not help organize this year’s protest, but took charge and started a march.

“We just showed up and started walking and people followed. It’s a lot of fun,” Lonon-Jones said.

Protesters held creative signs, chanted and sang songs. They were peaceful, offering nothing but kind words those few who drove by with negative comments. Many protesters were wearing pink hats, some of which were originally for the Dolphin Theater’s performance of the Vagina Monologues, according to protester Alice Carlson.

“I was at the Women’s March in Portland last year because I didn’t even know we were going to have one here and it was one of the most profoundly important things I’ve done with my life. It’s pretty incredible to be down here, because this is a very conservative area, and to find this many like-minded people who share your values and are willing to put themselves out there is really special,” Carlson said.

Last year’s march had one unfortunate incident when a man who opposed the Women’s March using his diesel truck to spread fumes and choke protesters. This year saw no such issues. Only one man was at the boardwalk to counter protest, and he peacefully voiced his opinion without conflict.

“There are a lot of people here who are actually against Trump, and I want to say that I support him,” counter protester James Nielsen said.

Another man separated from the group to peacefully share his prolife opinions about abortion, though he did not consider himself a counter protester.

Many men showed up to support the Women’s March.

“It’s a people movement. I’ve been doing this since 1961, when I was in high school. We were fighting for civil rights back then and unfortunately we’re still having the same problems. I’m older now, I have a wife, a mom, and a daughter. I don’t want them to be in a world where they don’t have the kind of rights they should have,” protester Romeo Betea said.