Jim Byagua joined the 300,000 marching through New York against Bush on the weekend before the Republican Party National Convention
New York City this week hosted the Republican National Convention — the pre-election party gathering where right-wing celebrities such as Rudolph Giuliani, the former mayor of the city and Arnold Schwarzenegger, the terminator, issue media sound bites amidst ecstatic placard-waving delegates and thousands of balloons.
In response, approximately 300,000 people took part in the United for Peace and Justice march on Sunday 29 August whose main slogan was “No to the Bush agenda”. There were feeder marches that began earlier in the day to highlighted particular issues. While the march was definitely anti-Republican, marchers carried a huge mixture of placards — many handmade. “Bush Lied, Thousands Died”, “BUll SHit” and similar anti-war and anti-Bush slogans were most common, but a whole range of concerns such as environmental protection, gay rights, women’s and abortion rights, healthcare, the Middle East, military spending, and education cuts were also raised — loudly.
The day was hot and sunny and the atmosphere among the protesters was peaceful and friendly, yet determined.
Voter registration stands were numerous and fliers about how to “get Bush out” in the swing states were distributed.
“Fox News sucks” (Fox is a pro-Bush news channel) was chanted each time we passed one of their news vans.
While the Democrats chose not to have a directly organised presence on the march, images of Kerry on a nearby screen drew cheers and admiration from many. Nader supporters were also there carrying placards that read “Bush+Kerry=War, Nader+Camejo=Peace” and a banner with the slogan “Impeach Bush/Cheney”.
Unfortunately, no rally had been allowed at the end of the march, so we missed out on speeches and a full appreciation of the massive numbers of people protesting. People did linger and the dispersion didn’t occur as fluidly as perhaps the police wished, but there wasn’t any repeat of the police repression that occurred in 1968 when Vietnam anti-war protesters in Chicago were similarly denied a rally after protesting the Democratic National Convention.
Other protests are planned throughout the week — for the latest news visit http://nyc.indymedia.org/