Women's March going forward after 'All Guns Matter' stands down

Hagadone News Network | October 16, 2020 1:00 AM

Saturday’s Kootenai County Women’s March in Coeur d’Alene is still going forward, despite an early, now-canceled plan by counter-demonstrators.

When asked whether or not organizers were still planning to continue with the march — part of a nationwide system of marches aimed at celebrating the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg while urging the U.S. Senate to cease the confirmation proceedings for her presumed successor, Amy Coney Barrett — organizer Laura Tenneson gave a wholehearted reply.

“It’s happening,” she wrote in response.

But the march isn't happening as originally planned. The venue has been changed to Riverstone Park, where demonstrators will walk the loop and parts of the Centennial Trail.

Plans for Saturday’s Women’s March were in flux Thursday after a comment section within a Facebook post discussed an armed counter-demonstration. That evidently sparked safety concerns among people planning on participating in the Women’s March, which then prompted organizers to solicit 10 “peacekeepers” on its own page.

“Peace is not the absence of conflict but the ability to cope with it,” the post read. “Looking for 10 peacekeepers for Saturday’s March.”

This prompted locals to prepare a since-canceled counter-demonstration, now known as “All Guns Matter.” The “All Guns Matter” demonstration would have been held on the corner of Second and Sherman, a block from the Calypsos Coffee Roasters parking lot, the original staging area for the Women’s March.

“It was kind of a tongue-in-cheek thing,” Brendon Hill said of his since-canceled “All Guns Matter” attempt. “They’d posted something that said they were looking for security. I thought, ‘Well, heck, we can provide security. We’ll show up.’ They said it was intimidation, so we just said, ‘You know what? You wanted security. We offered it. You didn’t seem to want it. We’ll go watch football. Have a nice protest.’”

Tenneson said the implication of the "peacekeepers" requiring guns was infuriating.

"We need 'peacekeepers' to help with traffic," Tenneson said, "to serve as a point of contact, and to serve as a de-escalating blockade, if needed. They will absolutely not have guns. The only thing different from other marchers is that they'll have bright-colored vests. They won't have weapons of any kind."

Tenneson said late Thursday night the venue is now at Riverstone Park but still scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday. Speakers will include voting advocate Lisa Nunlist, Idaho House Democratic candidate Teresa Borrenpohl and Idaho Senate Democratic candidate Shari Williams.