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Veterans For Peace march in parade without incident

Maine Veterans For Peace representatives were allowed to march in Portland's Veterans Day parade this year, after a brief round of phone calls (including to and from the Portland Phoenix office) in which the peace activists were concerned parade organizers at the Harold Andrews Post of the American Legion would not let them participate.

As is true for all groups marching in the parade, they were not allowed to carry signs beyond a couple of banners identifying the group. (Andrews Post parade organizer Joe Rich told the Phoenix that policy stemmed from an attempt by Tom Allen to carry political signs in the parade some years back; indeed, this year while Chellie Pingree and several local politicians marched, none carried signs with their names.)

The VFP's signs had caused problems in the past, including in 2006, the last time this low-level dispute flared up.

This year, they marched led by a "Maine Walk for Peace" sign, because the parade route was the last leg of a walk across a section of Maine - starting in Farmington - led by a group of Buddhist monks and nuns.

Next year, VFP organizer Dud Hendick said, they'll ask for a seat on the raised dais at City Hall and time to speak at the ceremony after the parade.

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