The sign of a successful protest isn't the number of people marching; it's how seriously the rest of the world takes those who do. By that measure, the demonstrations during the June 2005 meeting of the Organization of American States General Assembly in Fort Lauderdale were a triumph. Hundreds marched along Federal Highway, then down SW 17th Avenue to the Convention Center, where they rallied against the proposed enactment of the Central American Free Trade Agreement. An army of police from across South Florida, decked out in Darth Vader-like riot gear, lined the march route. The cops, seemingly outnumbering the protesters, surrounded the rally, which was held in a heavily fortified "protest pit" designed so that police could sweep down and crush any nascent violence. But there wasn't any fighting, only the loud voices of those remonstrating against the decisions of a body politic they didn't elect and to which they had no direct access -- not unlike similar gatherings in the 1770s.