Bush Inaugural Protests Worldwide

January 24th, 2005 - by admin

VoteNoWar – 2005-01-24 09:14:09


It is because of the support of so many people from around the country in the last few weeks that the antiwar mass rally on the inaugural parade route today was so successful. The rally was broadcast live on C-Span 2 for 4 hours and 25 minutes.

Over 10,000 protestors from around the country converged on John Marshall Park in Washington DC today bringing a powerful antiwar message to the presidential inauguration of George Bush.

Demonstrators filled the sidewalks in front of the park between 3rd and 4th Streets. The first thing that Bush saw as the presidential motorcade began the parade route was antiwar protestors lined 10 deep along the side walks and in antiwar bleachers.

Atop the bleachers was a giant banner that said, “Iraq is Bush’s Vietnam, Bring the Troops Home Now.” It was the first time in inaugural history that the antiwar movement was able to have bleachers, a stage, and a sound system for a mass antiwar demonstration right on the parade route.

Thousands more demonstrators stopped at the antiwar rally site and picked up signs and were able to line both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue from 3rd to 7th Streets.

Although the parade route filled up with anti-Bush demonstrators, many thousands more protestors were stopped at security checkpoints and not allowed into the antiwar rally. North of the check point at 3rd and C Sts. (the closest check point to the antiwar rally) a full block-and-a-half of people were held back. A similar scene was repeated at other check points. People held spontaneous demonstrations at the check points, chanting and holding banners.

Our partial victory in attaining a space for a mass assembly protest along the inaugural parade route was the result of a year-long political and legal struggle. Attorneys from the Partnership for Civil Justice and the National Lawyers Guild filed litigation that played a vital role. There will be a future update on this work.

Speaking against the War
January 20, 2005 in Washington, DC
Antiwar bleachers at 4th St. & Pennsylvania Ave.On the sidewalks at 4th St. & Pennsylvania Ave.

Speakers included: Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney from Georgia; former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark; Michael Berg, father of Nicholas Berg; Brian Becker, National Coordinator of the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition; John Boyd of the National Black Farmers Association; Brenda Stokley, President of District Council 7017 AFSCME; Zack Wolfe, chair of the Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender Committee of the National Lawyers Guild; Macrina Cardenas, Mexico Solidarity Network; Vanessa Dixon, DC Health Care Coalition; Sue Neiderer, mother of a U.S. soldier killed in Iraq; Celeste Zappala, mother of Sherwood Baker, National Guardsmen killed in Iraq; and Nathlie Hrizi of the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five and others. The program was chaired by A.N.S.W.E.R. youth and student organizers Peta Lindsay and Eugene Puryear.

January 20 antiwar protests were also held in other cities throughout the United States, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Austin, New Orleans, Albuquerque, Atlanta, Phoenix, and other cities. There were also demonstrations in South Korea, Mexico, Italy, Guatemala, Peru, Belgium, Germany, Japan, Australia and Puerto Rico.

10,000 people took to the streets of San Francisco. After an opening rally at the Civic Center, the march organized by the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition proceeded to the Embarcadero, taking up all of Market St. Thousands of bystanders along the way expressed their support for the marchers.

In Los Angeles, 10,000 people marched from the Westwood Federal Building marched through Westwood, filling the entire width of Wilshire Blvd., one of the biggest streets in Los Angeles. People in attendance traveled from throughout Southern California and from five other states to the demonstration initiated by the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition.

In Seattle, there was a day of coordinated activities which culminated in a rally at the Federal Building sponsored by A.N.S.W.E.R. The crowd of 2,000 overflowed the plaza at the Federal Building and police had to open two lanes of traffic for the assembly.

March 19, 2005 Demonstrations Planned
At the rally in Washington DC today, organizers from 30 cities took the platform to announce their plans to organize local demonstrations on March 19, 2005, the second anniversary of the start of the U.S. “shock and awe” invasion of Iraq.

To endorse the March 19 Global Day of Coordinated Actions on the 2nd Anniversary of the “Shock and Awe” Invasion of Iraq, initiated by antiwar organizations worldwide including the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition and VoteNoWar in the United States, click here. Antiwar actions in Washington DC, San Francisco, Los Angeles and in other cities around the country and around the world will take place on March 19.

We have been able to succeed in these important efforts because of the continuing support of everyone who wants to help the antiwar movement. We could not and cannot do this work without the generous donations from people who share this commitment.

Demonstrators Revel in Opposition on Big Day for President
Michael Janofsky / The New York Times

WASHINGTON (January 20, 2005) — For all their disgust with President Bush’s inauguration, protesters could hardly have been happier. They screamed. They chanted. They held up signs. They got their message onto national television.

And when Mr. Bush’s motorcade rolled right past them on Pennsylvania Avenue at Fourth Street shortly after 3 p.m., they let him have it with all the invective they could muster.

“Racist, sexist, antigay. Bush and Cheney, go away.”

That was one chant from the largest crowd of demonstrators on the parade route as Mr. Bush passed. Through the darkened windows of his limousine, it appeared that he and Mrs. Bush were waving to the crowd anyway.

At least 13 people were arrested by late Thursday night after a variety of incidents, some far from the parade route, which took the presidential party from the Capitol to the White House. At least one woman, naked but for red, white and blue underpants, was hustled off Pennsylvania Avenue near 12th Street by the authorities, and several demonstrators (fully clothed) were driven back from barricades by pepper spray near Seventh Street and taken into custody.

But none of the incidents dampened the mood of protest organizers who declared the day a resounding success.

“We think this is a significant achievement for the antiwar movement,” said Brian Becker, national coordinator of a protest coalition called Act Now to Stop the War and End Racism, or Answer. “We have bleachers, a stage, a sound system, and we’re right along the parade route. We feel we have succeeded.”

Never before had the Park Service granted a protest group dedicated space for the inaugural parade, organizers said, and Mr. Becker’s coalition filled it with thousands of people who were as close to Mr. Bush as those who came to cheer him.

For hours before the procession began, they waited in the cold, listening to a succession of speakers who complained about administration policies involving Cuba, Iran, housing, Venezuela, health care, jobs, Social Security, same-sex marriage, Afghanistan and North Korea.

But mostly the tirades, as well as the signs and banners, attacked the administration for its involvement in Iraq. One sign read, “How many lives per gallon?” Another said, “Who would Jesus bomb?” Yet another said, “Torture is not a moral value.” One more: “Iraq. Tomb of the Unknown Exit Strategy.”

Ramsey Clark, an antiwar figure who served as attorney general under President Lyndon B. Johnson, appeared early and told the crowd that the Bush administration had “made the world a more dangerous place.”

“It’s because of what we’ve done and what we’re doing right now,” Mr. Clark said, adding, “Impeachment now is essential to the integrity of the U.S. government and the people of the United States.”

While the protesters mixed with Bush supporters in many other areas along the parade route, no place had a bigger concentration than the Fourth Street location, within sight of Mr. Bush’s swearing in. It quickly became a fault line of American political sentiment as ticketholders from the swearing-in ceremony just blocks away walked through a gantlet of tormentors in search of their seats for the parade.

One man wearing anti-Bush buttons screamed, “Scum,” into the ear of an elderly woman, a Bush supporter. The man walking behind her punched him in the face. Some of the Bush supporters laughed off the taunting; others looked terrified.

The numbers of protesters along Pennsylvania Avenue might have been greater, but the swarm of people trying to pass through security checkpoints made it hard to reach the parade route quickly.

Bill Wolf, 47, a protester from Ringoes, N.J., who carried a sign that said, “War Mongers,” said he had waited in line an hour to get in.

“It’s overkill to the extreme,” he said about the procedure. “I think it was designed specifically to suppress dissent and keep out protesters. They want to control the visual image as part of an effort to mislead the American people about the level of opposition to this administration. They’re trying to make it a coronation, and it’s not.”

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