The Day | March comes to a close, attention turns to Saturday’s rally in Blair

BY M.L. RAMSBURG

March on Blair Mountain attendees completed their five day, 50 mile walk from Marmet to the base of Blair Mountain in Blair on Friday, marking the end of a journey that organizers say took six months to plan. Rebecca Rast, a March on Blair media representative, confirmed that 350 marchers began their last six miles to Blair around 11:30 a.m. Friday. Now, organizers are turning their attention to Saturday’s rally, which Rast said will draw “thousands” of people to a baseball field in the Logan County community.

On Thursday, march organizers asked visitors to their official website to assist with donations to help with expenses needed for Saturday’s rally. A goal of $30,000 was set. On Friday, Rast said that “a significant portion” of the goal was met. The March on Blair website said the expenses were needed for “the nuts and bolts of making a rally effective and safe: drinking water, toilet facilities, gas and buses.” Rast said that all the needed items would be purchased with the donated money from stores and business in West Virginia.

Also on Friday, March on Blair “virtual marchers” were again asked to contact the White House. On Wednesday, organizers asked online participants to “ask President Obama to re-list Blair Mountain on the National Historic Register.” On Friday, participants were asked to “call on President Obama to clean up Washington and re-instate the protection [of] Blair Mountain.” Online visitors were given the White House comments line telephone number, and a script was provided. There was also an option to send an e-mail form petition to the Whitehouse.

Throughout the week, marchers have been met by groups of counter protestors. On Monday in Marmet, small groups of counter protesters held signs that read, “Our miners power your houses,” and “No coal = no power.” One video from Wednesday’s portion of the walk posted on the March on Blair website shows counter protesters yelling ,“Get a job tree huggers!” at marchers. Another video from Thursday shows a counter protest sign that reads, “Tree huggers, you don’t live here, you don’t work here, leave here! Friends of Coal.”

March on Blair officials have organized a rally for Saturday that is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Bobby Kennedy Jr., Kathy Mattea, and EmmyLou Harris are scheduled to attend.

“The Day” brings you up-to-date on what has happened at the March on Blair Mountain within the past 24-hours.

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