By GUY KOVNER
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
A panoply of liberal passions was expressed on a sunny Saturday afternoon at an Occupy Bohemian Grove protest at the Monte Rio Amphitheater.
An ensuing march to the gates of the grove resulted in the arrest of 75-year-old man later booked into county jail on suspicion of interfering with a peace officer.
The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office described the protest as “relatively small and peaceful.”
About 150 people, including representatives of at least 10 Occupy groups, turned out for four hours of speeches and music at the event, organized by the Bohemian Grove Action Network.
A banner over the stage said “Creation of Care,” a deliberate variation from the Cremation of Care ceremony set for Saturday night within nearby Bohemian Grove, where more than 2,000 wealthy and powerful men gathered for their annual retreat among the redwoods.
Signs posted around the amphitheater said “No (more) war for oil,” “Don’t tread on my uterus” and “FWEEDOM.”
Tom Todd of Geyserville wore black-and-white convict’s stripes with a stuffed fox on his back and three dollar bills on the front of his shirt.
“I’m crooked and sly,” said Todd, a retired Teamster who once hauled Russian River gravel. “I’m imitating a politician.”
His sign said: “Campaign contributions are bribes.”
The Bohemian Grove protest began with drumming and singing by the Native Resistance Drum Group of Sonoma County.
“All the riches of this nation were built upon land stolen from the Indian nation,” group member Adam Villagomez of Windsor told the crowd.
Sonoma County sheriff’s deputies and CHP officers maintained a presence at the amphitheater and the gates to the grove about a half-mile away, where a separate protest numbered about a dozen people
Sheriff’s Lt. Glenn Lawrence said that at 4 p.m. 75 to 100 people marched from the amphitheater to the Bohemian Grove gates where they were met by deputies and CHP officers. As some of the protesters attempted to push past the deputies, one man grabbed a deputy’s baton and was arrested, he said. He was identified as Douglas Miller, 75.
Veteran activist Mary Moore of Camp Meeker said months of preparation went into the amphitheater event, which included a “signup for camping” table.
The Action Network arranged for camping at other locations so no one would pitch a tent on the amphitheater’s grassy lawn, Moore said.
Cindy Sheehan, a war protester whose soldier son died in Iraq, and the Fukushima Mothers Delegation from Japan were featured speakers.
Occupy members from Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, Petaluma, San Francisco, Sacramento, Woodland, Chico, Fullerton, Los Angeles and Reno introduced themselves to the crowd, with the barechested man from L.A. doing a backflip off the stage.
Members of the San Francisco-based Bohemian Club have been retreating to their 2,700-acre Monte Rio enclave since the 1870s.
Critics say the power brokers discuss serious business in secret, while others say the all-male group, which includes artists and entertainers, mostly drinks alcohol and cavorts under the redwoods.