3000 Saipan residents took to the streets yesterday afternoon to protest P.L. 15-108, H.R. 3079, and Brad Ruszala's blog.
The March started at Kilili Beach, which is about three miles south of the rallying point. The marcher's walked along the Saipan Beach Path, about 2 or 3 abreast and stretching out for about 600 meters, until they reached the intersection of Quartermaster and Beach Road.
From there they tucked in behind the motorcade of protest vehicles and marched the rest of the way in the northbound lane of Beach Road.
Front of the parade: Tina Sablan, her boyfriend Glen, and Federal Omsbudmen Jim Benedetto lead the march in the beginning.
The Big Cheese: She's from Orlando, I couldn't help myself. Wendy Doromal flew out from Florida to join the March.
Hey, Mom, I'm on Angelo's blog!: Mark Hanson and Jim Davies were at the march.
Here are some more pictures of marchers. I took these photos right at the start of the parade:
As the parade progressed along Beach Road, it picked up participants waiting for them along the side of the road. Small groups of 5-10 people were there waiting with their white T-shirts and anti-Labor Law stickers and signs.
I can see the parade: Some of the marchers waited along the side of the road for the parade, then they joined in.
Long shot: Boonieman asked for a picture of the marchers on the road. Here it is. The parade of marchers was about 600 meters long (measured with my scooter's odometer) when they were walking along the Beach Path, but bunched up when they started walking along the road.
The parade ended at American Memorial Park. All of the participants piled into the 1200 person capacity Amphitheater and just as the band was about to begin entertaining the crowd, it started to rain.
That's when I left.
All in all, there was a very good turnout.
Estimating crowds is alway controversial. Really the only way to accurately do it is to sign everybody in. That is difficult, but not impossible.
In the end, it doesn't matter how many people showed up. What matters now is what those people who showed up do now that they are organized.
Even so, I overhead Wendy Doromal telling Steve Woodruff that she thought 5000 people attended. A local businessman I know who was sitting in the crowd guessed about 2400 (he asked not to be identified). Ron Hodges was in the 2000-3000 range. A local attorney, you asked not to be identified told me that 3000 would be at the high end of his estimate. The Middleroad bloggers are guessing 6000. Federal Omsbudman Jim Benedetto estimated 5000-6000. The Saipan Tribune wrote that 6000 people attended. Tina Sablan's boyfriend, Glen Hunter, is guessing between 6000-7000. Co-event organizer Ed Probst's guess is 10,000*.
My guess would be about 3000. My original guess was about 2500 (600 meter parade, walking four abreast, 1 meter between marchers = 600 x 1 x 4 = 2400 marchers), but knowing that the capacity at the Amphitheater is 1200, that it was overflowing, and considering that some people joined the parade while it was moving I think that 3000 is a good number.
Take it or leave it.
Wendy Doromal has more pictures on her blog. She estimates that about 5000 people participated.
I was really glad not to see any anti-protest protesters out there.
This day belonged to the Contract Workers.
Anybody want to count the heads?
*Hey newspaper people, you should write a story on the different crowd estimates. My "research" shows that people are guessing anywhere between 2,000-18,000. I'm sticking with my guess of 3,000.