Longtime group still hopes (and stands) for peace

After the election of Barack Obama in 2008, a man approached Louis Inmann and her group of flag waving protestors. He said he assumed that the group, with slogans like “Fox News lies” and “Save public education,” would have blindly supported the newly-elected president through the reported drone attacks. “I told him we don’t care who’s doing wrong. Wrong is wrong,” she said. She has to pause to call back Momo, the dog who has been dutifully standing alongside the group since she was a puppy. She’s now 12 years old.

“We call her the “Peace Pooch,” Inmann said. The group, which has fluctuated from Stand for Peace and Occupy Cottage Grove, says it’s the longest running demonstration in the state. They’ve been standing on Main St. since the invasion of Iraq. “We demonstrated to save the post office too,” Inmann said. “We want to have whatever influence we can.”

Inmann is one of only two members left from the original group and she said numbers have dwindled to the level that no longer allows a single member to take a day off. “If we were sick or something, there were enough of us to still go and do it,” she said. “But now, if one or two of us don’t then there’s no one left to come.” Standing on the corner of 7th St., the group says it has added new signs to its nearly quarter-of-a-block display since the election of President Donald Trump.

They used to wave their rainbow flags begging for peace for an hour. Now, as they’ve grown older and fewer, Inmann says that has scaled back to 30 minutes. “We also used to hold a candlelight vigil every Sunday but two days a week just got to be too much,” she said. It was during one of those vigils, held for soldiers killed during the war and occupation, that the group says a car tried to run over one of their signs, veering off the road to do so. “We’ve had people give us the finger, scream at us, throw things at us,” Inmann said.

Counter-protests have sprung up occasionally she said, but lately the reception has been mostly positive. “Now we get peace signs, honks and waves,” she said.

The group meets every Friday on Main St. from 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.