Deciding to avoid rallying through Mifflin Street, peace activists marched to the state Capitol Saturday afternoon to protest U.S. involvement in the Middle East and call for \anyone but Bush"" at the November election.
""This is an affirmation of peace and social justice,"" said Allen Ruff, a founding member of the Madison Area Peace Coalition, which organized the march.
By 2 p.m., approximately 200 people were gathered in Library Mall, chanting slogans punctuated by the drumbeats of a group of self-proclaimed anarchists. Ruff, speaking through a megaphone, said the peace movement must grow until ""business cannot go on as usual.""
The rally attracted three members of College Republicans holding ""Bush/Cheney '04"" signs, who confronted a small crowd of protesters.
""We're a silent majority,"" said Tom O'Day, a graduate student at UW-Madison, of the conservative cause.
After half an hour, the crowd began its march down State Street. Before it reached the 300 block, a group of colorfully dressed people, one wearing a cow suit and two carrying a mattress, rushed in from the direction of the Mifflin Street Block Party. They marched along briefly, chanting pro-Bush slogans, then disappeared as quickly as they had come.
On the Capitol steps, several more speakers came forward to decry U.S. military actions in Palestine and other countries.
""I say the U.S. is the greatest military threat in the world,"" peace coalition member Rae Vogeler said.
At the Capitol, Ruff announced the planned march along Mifflin Street was off, calling the block party a ""police-controlled, corporate binge-fest.""
Instead, the crowd marched to the Monona Terrace. Almost 100 people took their signs and chants inside, only to be escorted out by security and police. The rally dissipated on the terrace.
The rally drew diverse causes together: pro-peace, anti-Bush, pro-democracy, anarchist, socialist and feminist. Many gathered to protest the draft, which legislation in Congress may bring back.
""No matter who wins in the fall,"" Ruff said, ""there will be a draft, because [Sen. John] Kerry has promised to stay the course.\