Protesters Gather at Bohemian Grove
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Protesters Gather at Bohemian Grove

Santa Rosa Press Democrat | July 19 2004

As a solid line of peace officers looked on, hands on clubs and wearing face shields, about 100 Bohemian Grove protesters stood in a circle at the entrance of the grove and called on the spirits of the four directions to bring love to the hearts of mankind.

Both sheriff's deputies and protesters videotaped the 45-minute-long demonstration.

The annual demonstration, more subdued than in previous years, came two days after the opening of the Bohemian Club encampment. The male-only gathering brings together some 2,000 club members, many of them business and government leaders, for three weekends of fun and relaxation in a private 2,700-acre redwood grove near Monte Rio.

Sunday's protest was a ceremony intended as an alternative to the Bohemian Grove's "cremation of care" in which the daily worries of the workaday world are cremated.

Dusty, an Occidental woman who didn't want to give her last name, called for a "resurrection of care" -- and caring -- when protesters gathered at about 2 p.m. at the Monte Rio Beach parking lot.

"It's all about love and kindness," she said to protesters carrying signs, including "Stop Mad Cowboy Disease" and "Terrorists Out of the White House."

Protesters trooped about three-quarters of a mile toward the grove, where they were met by some 25 sheriff's deputies and 16 CHP officers who were standing shoulder to shoulder blocking the road -- approximately one peace officer for each four protesters.

Although the past four years have been peaceful, more than 500 demonstrators gathered last year. And law enforcement officers are mindful of the more turbulent 1980s, said Shannon King, a CHP spokeswoman.

Then protesters with signs stood vigil along both sides of the narrow street attempting to confront Bohemians as they left after a weekend of camaraderie. There were angry confrontations and arrests.

A new generation of protesters has taken up the torch from long-time local activist Mary Moore. The new organizers have made a deliberate attempt to foster a more convivial spirit, said Susan Lamont, the protest organizer and a member of Not in Our Name, an anti-war group.

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