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Protesting Bush's inauguration…hail to the thief, part II


There are a lot of options for folks out there that want to make a statement about unhappiness with another four years of Chimpy on January 20th. In addition to “Not One Damn Dime Day” (where you are encouraged not to spend any money as a protest), there are calls to fast, pray, skip work and wear black, according to a story in USA Today.

The Florida recount energized protesters at Bush’s 2001 inauguration. The primary motivator this time is the war in Iraq. Sgt. Scott Fear of the U.S. Park Police said authorities expect an activity level “very similar to last time.” He said two of six protest permits went to groups supportive of Bush, the rest to opponents.

Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER), is putting up bleachers in a park along the Pennsylvania Avenue parade route. They’ll be filled with opponents of the Iraq war, including veterans, elected officials, religious leaders and families that have lost relatives in Iraq.

Brian Becker, national coordinator of the protest, says 10,000 people will fit in the park and it is the first time the anti-war movement has had its own bleachers. But he calls that only “a partial victory,” contending inaugural organizers have severely limited public access along the rest of the parade route. ANSWER filed a court challenge to the restrictions Friday.

Leaders of also are concerned about limited space for public viewing. National organizer Jet Heiko says the group expects thousands of people from 41 states to travel here for a silent protest along the parade route. They have been told to leave anti-Bush buttons, banners and signs at home. They will signal their opposition to Bush’s policies by turning their backs as his motorcade passes.

The day promises to be a series of contrasts between gentility and abandon. Anarchist Resistance Call to Action says it plans to “bring anarchy to the streets of DC” during Bush’s “coronation.” Bicyclists plan to gather at Union Station, near the Capitol, for a “counter-inaugural critical mass bike ride” to protest sites around town. The D.C. Anti-War Network (DAWN) is calling for “non-violent civil disobedience die-ins to draw attention to the dead at the hands of the Bush administration.”

At the Jefferson Memorial, ReDefeatBush is sponsoring a question-and-answer session on democracy featuring Thomas Jefferson and Alexis de Tocqueville impersonators. At the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial, the satirical cabaret group Billionaires for Bush (“activists for the corporate elite”) will auction off Social Security, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and “other public properties that need to be corporatized.”

… There’s also a candlelight vigil sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee. It’s part of “Eyes Wide Open,” a traveling exhibit that uses boots, shoes and a 24-foot wall of names to symbolize troops and civilians killed in Iraq.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding