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Plan for flyover at MLK march sparks protest

Peace activists are protesting plans for a military flyover at San Antonio's annual Martin Luther King Jr. march, saying the gesture runs counter to the nonviolent beliefs of the civil rights leader.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Peace activists are protesting plans for a military flyover at the city’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. march, saying the gesture runs counter to the nonviolent beliefs of the civil rights leader.

The city’s MLK Commission said the flyover by two fighter jets from Randolph Air Force Base is meant to be patriotic and an honor to King in a city with a strong military presence.

The Rev. Herman Price, the commission’s chairman, said he was dismayed by the divisiveness the flyover was causing.

“They say the planes represent war and bombs and death, but at the same time those planes can also represent our freedom and peace,” Price said.

The San Antonio march is in its 20th year and has drawn as much as 70,000 people, making it one of the nation’s largest Martin Luther King Jr. Day commemorations.

The commission voted to add the flyover at a November meeting, and peace activists say an attempt to rescind it failed at a meeting this week. Some said they would stay home this year or wear yellow ribbons during the march Monday as a show of protest.

“If you’re going to honor Dr. King, you have to honor the nonviolent point. It’s fundamental,” said Tommy Calvert Jr., who attended the meeting.