EAST PEORIA, IL -- The Central Illinois Women's March to the Polls on Jan. 20 was a huge success, except for the incident near its conclusion.
The signs were terrific, the brief speeches inspirational and well delivered, and the rally, focused on voting this year for progressive candidates, was surprisingly exciting. The crowd numbered up to 800, and maybe more, cheering and chanting. Even the weather cooperated, as it was not cold.
Then the incident occurred. The rally took place at a park on the Illinois River behind the huge Wal-Mart. About 45 minutes into the noon rally, an announcement shocked the crowd. Those who parked in the Wal-Mart parking lot were told to move their cars out now or they would be towed away.
Many raced for their vehicles, including me. While I wondered how anyone would identify the cars of those attending the rally, I also was furious, as I had planned to shop at Wal-Mart after the rally.
Not any longer. I and a couple of others went inside to complain, but when the manager didn't show up at the front door to talk to us, I left.
The incident is mystifying, as there was plenty of room in the gigantic parking lot for many other cars. Customers were not wanting for places to park. Apparently the manager is a Trump fan or hates women. Ugh. I won't be going back there, and I suspect the others won't either.
-- Elaine Hopkins
UPDATE -- Clare Howard later emailed me to say an announcement was soon made that Walmart wanted cars that were blocking semi trucks from being unloaded to move, whether the cars were those of their shoppers or those at the march, they wanted only those cars to move.
Hummm -- how did that first message get garbled, or did it? Did the second one come after complaints to Wal-Mart?