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Counter-demonstrators outnumber Ganesha protesters in Idaho


June 11, 2011 - Nevada

Protesters against display of Lord Ganesha sculpture in downtown Coeur d'Alene (Idaho, USA) on June 10 evening were outnumbered by approximately six times by counter-demonstrators, according to reports.

Reports suggest that both groups carried handmade signs in these peaceful demonstrations on the opposite corners of Sherman/Sixth at the dedication ceremony. One sign opposing the Ganesha sculpture read "The veneration of the idols is the worship of demons". One of the signs carried by counter-demonstrators supporting the sculpture said "Go away all intolerant hate mongers. We love art."

Esteemed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed has thanked the City of Coeur d'Alene and its Arts Commission for the installation of Lord Ganesha statue and the counter-demonstrators for coming out in support of it.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Connecticut (USA) today, stressed that Lord Ganesha's presence in Coeur d'Alene might prove auspicious for the city, as in Hinduism Ganesha was worshipped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking.

Rajan Zed has called this Ganesha sculpture installation in Coeur d'Alene "a step in the right direction".

"Ganesha" on East Sherman Avenue and South 6th Street by Spokane metal artist Rick Davis is part of 15 sculptures of "ART Currents-Coeur d'Alene Public Art On-Loan 2011-2012 Program". Spread throughout the downtown area, variety of art pieces on-loan from local and national artists are on display for one year and for sale. Besides "Ganesha" (which is priced at $35,000 and is third most expensive), Rick Davis created "St. Francis of Assisi" and "Great Blue Heron" are also on display.

Sandi Bloem, Wendy Gabriel, Susan Weathers, and Steve Anthony are the Mayor, City Administrator, City Clerk, and Recreation Director of City of Coeur d'Alene respectively; while Fred Ogram is Chairman of its Arts Commission, a 12-member panel appointed by the Mayor. Guiding Principle of Coeur d'Alene Arts Commission is to "Select artworks of sufficient scale to capture public attention. Make an impression."

Besides Hindus, devotion to elephant-headed and human-bodied Ganesha also extends to Jains and Buddhists. Coeur d'Alene, founded in 1878 and known as "Lake City", is home to the second largest metropolitan area in Idaho. Broadcast journalist Barbara Walters reportedly described the city as "a little slice of Heaven". Its Christmas lighting display is claimed to be among the largest in USA.

ANI

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