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Protesters ready for a waterfront showdown

By By NIKIE MAYO, News Editor
Clapping thunder, frequent lightning and, eventually, torrential rains didn’t stop two opposing groups from gathering on the Washington waterfront Friday night to voice their views on the war in Iraq.
White stood with Gathering of Eagles, a self-described “pro-troops group.” The group waved flags and held signs that read “Troops, Troops and Nothing But the Troops.” They stood on Stewart Parkway opposite the group that has dubbed itself Grandmothers for Peace. Those women have been holding “peace vigils” on the parkway every Friday for the last few weeks.
Grandmothers for Peace organizer Pat Seibert said she was “afraid” when she read that Gathering of Eagles would be coming to the waterfront. Two Washington police officers stood by Friday night to “keep the peace,” according to officer Matthew Bailey.
Larry Bailey, a former Navy SEAL, describes the group as “nonviolent, but confrontational.”
With lightning flashing all around him, Bailey reminded people with his group to “play by the rules.” They had to stay at least a few feet back from the opposition.
On the opposite sidewalk, Emily Keel held a sign that read “Honor the dead. Heal the wounds. End the war.” She chided her friend Seibert for speaking about fear.
The effect went beyond Washington, said Robert Cody, a Vietnam veteran who made the trip from New Bern to stand with Gathering of Eagles.
Surry Everett, an Army veteran and chairman of the Beaufort County Democratic Party, said his time in the service made him want to stand with the grandmothers and thank them for “raising people’s awareness of the situation of the Americans in Iraq.”