In a scene reminiscent of a late 1960s Vietnam War protest, Horton Plaza Park (on Broadway between Third and Fourth avenues) was packed with noisy demonstrators on Saturday, April 25, between 3:00 and 4:30 p.m. Most of the estimated 1000 people were in their late teens and early 20s. Nearly everyone had sleeping bags, backpacks, and other overnight gear with them.
Earlier, at 1:30 p.m., between 20 and 30 organizers in blue-turquoise shirts with the words “Here to Help” had begun setting up in the park. Many held up large signs that read "The Rescue." A banner 5 feet high and 17 feet long that read “Abduction Point" was first held up by volunteers and later tied between two lampposts.
The majority of activists arrived after 3:00. A significant number of them wore olive-green T-shirts printed with the image of an AK-47 rifle on the front. Depicted on the back was a teddy bear tied to the gun strap. The shirts symbolized solidarity with the children who have been abducted in Northern Uganda and forced to become soldiers in a rebel army.
The demonstrators were about to be symbolically “abducted” and taken to another location. At 4:30 p.m. the organizers began gathering groups of approximately 30 people and instructed them to stay together by gripping a long white cord. One group at a time, they proceeded one block east to Fifth Avenue, turned south, and marched the nine blocks to Harbor Drive. Turning left, they made their way around and behind the San Diego Convention Center until they reached their final destination, Embarcadero Marina Park South.
As they walked, they often cheered and broke out with intermittent chants of “Rescue us! Rescue us!” and “LRA go away! LRA go away!” At the bayside park, another huge banner had been displayed, this one reading “LRA Camp.” Arriving abductees claimed a space on the large grassy field to spend the night. Loudspeakers played alternative rock music as the marchers continued to file in.
“The Rescue” was an event organized by the San Diego–based nonprofit organization Invisible Children in order to raise awareness of the plight of Ugandan youth who have been abducted by rebel leader Joseph Kony and forcibly turned into child soldiers for his Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
The demonstration was being held simultaneously in 10 countries and 100 cities. In each location, after participants “abducted” themselves, they awaited “rescue” by the public appearance of a political leader or respected celebrity. Although several potential “rescuers” were contacted ahead of time, a timely “rescue” was in no way guaranteed. San Diego was rescued at 9:22 p.m. Saturday evening by Vincent Jackson, who plays for the San Diego Chargers.