Clinton and Peltier

jonathan flanders jon_flanders at SPAMcompuserve.com
Sun Jan 21 18:56:01 MST 2001


I got back this morning from Washington. Our Capital District area
organized four buses for the protests. I personally attended the rally at
Dupont Circle which featured Michael Moore, and which was comprised mainly
of white liberals, and then I went down to the African-American protest
featuring Al Sharpton, who has emerged as a central leader after the
abdication and subsequent scandalization of Jesse Jackson. This rally was
truly multi-racial, as many white activists made a point of joining with
the special targets of the Bush power grab.

 The city was full of protestors, who could be spotted by their backpacks
and signs. We mingled with the Bushites with their cowboy hats and tuxes.

 With at least five protest centers, the day lacked a central focus. Their
was some disruption of the inaugural parade, one young man on my bus had
video of his and others scuffle with the police.

By the time the Sharpton led march got to the Supreme Court, the rain
really started coming down, and people started disbursing for the ride
home.

  Outside of individual union activists such as myself, the only presence
of organized labor I saw was the some of the leaders the Brotherhood of
Maintenance of Way(BMWE).  They attended the Sharpton rally. I spoke
briefly with one of their staffers, who expressed their discontent with the
response of the labor leadership to the Bush coup, and their unhappiness
with Gore's failure to really fight it. How this attitude plays out in the
unions and the African-American community is central, in my opinion, to the
future of class-based politics in the US.

  Most of the people on the bus ride home, which got bogged down in a
snowstorm, seemed content with how the day went. I personally would have
liked to see one major action that would have had a greater political
impact.

 We shall see shortly how the initial coming together finds some political
focus.

Here is a news article on the protests.

Jon Flanders

Jeers of protest amid the cheers as thousands voice discontent
Heavy police presence greets largest inaugural protests since 1973

WASHINGTON -- Thousands of demonstrators waving signs and chanting "Hail to
the Thief'' took to the streets in a freezing rain on Saturday to protest
the inauguration of President George W. Bush. Under heavy police
supervision they were moved, lining the inaugural parade route.

Terry Gainer, deputy police chief for the District of Colombia, said the
weather, which turned from a cold drizzle in the morning to rain and,
finally, sleet in the afternoon, helped police. "Poor weather generally
helps keep down the number of demonstrators,'' he said.

>From the U.S. Capitol, where Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were sworn
in, to two blocks from the White House, Bush's motorcade was met with jeers
and hundreds of people waving anti-Bush signs.

One group of several hundred demonstrators along Pennsylvania Avenue waved
signs with the slogans "Count the Votes'' and "Bush Is Not My President.''

Police estimated the number of protesters at as many as 15,000 -- the
largest inaugural demonstrations since 1973 when 60,000 people protested at
President Nixon's second inauguration.

On Saturday, only one major clash with police broke out. Half an hour
before Bush was sworn in, thousands of protesters broke away from a
sanctioned rally and marched through streets that were open to traffic.

Chanting "Impeach the Supreme Court'' and "Hey, hey, ho, ho, Bush and
Cheney have got to go,'' demonstrators walked for eight blocks before
officers stopped them at 14th Street and K Street, about five blocks from
Pennsylvania Avenue, site of the parade.

The protesters were met by a wall of area officers -- from D.C., Maryland
and Virginia -- who stood shoulder-to-shoulder in black trench coats. When
demonstrators attempted to cross the street and test the police line,
officers thrust batons toward them and arrested several. Five people were
arrested, according to a D.C. police spokesman.

Throughout downtown Washington, pockets of protesters endured a cold,
steady rain, waving placards and cloth banners with slogans such as "Sorry
Barb, your son is illegitimate'' and "Like most Americans, I voted for Al
Gore.'' Some marched on stilts. A handful had donned huge papier-mache
puppets of Al Gore and the five U.S. Supreme Court justices who last month
voted to effectively end manual recounts in Florida.

The causes of the protests were as varied as the demonstrators themselves.
Atheists, abortion-rights activists, environmentalists, anarchists, death
penalty opponents and Black Panthers protested side-by-side, united in
their disdain for President Bush and the contested election.

Yvonne Dody, who gave her age as mid-40s, rode a bus from Boston to protest
the inauguration. She said she believed that Bush "bought his way'' into
the White House.

"I don't perceive him as being my president, and I don't believe this is a
democracy any longer,'' said Dody, who struggled to keep control of a red
"Hail to the Thief'' balloon that whipped back and forth in heavy winds.

Police officials who asked not to be identified said there was evidence
that some of the protesters were veterans of violent demonstrations in
Seattle and Philadelphia, where many demonstrators clashed with police and
shut down traffic.

Along the parade route that ran from the U.S. Capitol to the White House,
police stood nearly shoulder-to-shoulder.

All spectators also had to pass through one of 16 security checkpoints.





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