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(en) US, Arizona, Media: Dubya Protest Remains Peaceful

From Dan Clore <clore@columbia-center.org>
Date Mon, 28 Oct 2002 10:02:19 -0500 (EST)


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by Christina Leonard
The Arizona Republic
Oct. 28, 2002 12:00 AM

More than 200 protesters chanted, beat drums and taunted
police outside the Dodge Theatre on Sunday evening in a
peaceful protest of George Bush's presidential visit.

Nobody was arrested, and there were no reported injuries.

"There were plenty of police around, but we didn't need
them," Phoenix police Lt. Jeff Halstead said. "The crowd was
very vocal, but they were very cooperative of our requests."

Sunday marked Bush's second trip to Arizona to barnstorm for
GOP candidates. And similar to his last visit, protesters
came together from various causes and backgrounds - from
anarchists to environmentalists to Women in Black, who wore
veils and stood silently in acknowledgement of human rights. 

Children came to protest war, and seniors came to protest
congressional candidate Rick Renzi, claiming he is not
telling the truth about prescription medicine and Social
Security.

The protesters wore everything from gas masks and bandanas
to colorful costumes. There was Abraham Lincoln, several
Bush impersonators, and even a purple cat holding up a
gubernatorial candidate Matt Salmon campaign sign with "Fat
cats vote for" written on it. 

Beverly Fox-Miller, president of the Arizona Democracy
Group, came out to support human rights. She said she would
much rather feed a homeless person than watch taxpayers foot
the bill for a presidential visit.

"I'd like him to look at the homeless people on his way
through Phoenix," she said. "I'd like them to put some of
the money that we're putting into the election 2002 process
. . . and give to the people of Arizona who really need it."

The group met at downtown's Patriot Square Park about 4 p.m.
and marched toward the Dodge Theatre a little more than an
hour later. Some protesters stopped cars in the street and
spit on sport utility vehicles, but most were well behaved. 

Police in riot gear stood guard outside the theater doors
while the crowd advanced on the building. A few protesters
came within a few inches of police, yelling profanities at
them and telling them to join "our side." 

After the speech, the audience streaming out of the theater
met with the chanting crowd - "This is what democracy looks
like" and "War is not the answer!"

For the most part, attendees said they didn't mind the
protests and couldn't hear the noise from inside the
building. Sherrill Moriarty, 31, of Tucson, said she was
surprised because the protesters weren't there when they
walked into the building.

A large crowd of Salmon supporters did argue with protesters
outside the building, but the friction ended with little
more than ripped campaign signs.

"There were some conflicts at the end of the event when the
attendees came outside," Halstead said. "There's no way to
avoid that."

A large group also gathered for a candlelight vigil across
the street at the federal courthouse to honor Sen. Paul
Wellstone, D-Minn., who was killed in a plane crash on
Friday.

by Christina Leonard


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