The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Strong Resistance Felt at Bush's Second Inauguration

Coffins to be used in Protest
Coffins representing those who have died in Iraq were carried in the march

article by Christian Roselund,
photographs by Patsy Crocker, Chicago IMC • 22 January 2005

The swearing in of George W. Bush as the 43rd president of the United States on Thursday January 20th, 2005 saw widespread protests characterized by frequent and sometimes violent confrontations between police and demonstrators. As the popularity of the war with Iraq wanes for the American people, the intensity of the inaugural protests was another reminder that Bush is coming under greater and more intense criticism than any president in recent American history.

The news organization Democracy Now! estimated that 10,000 people braved temperatures that dropped below freezing for much of the day to demonstrate against Bush's inauguration, but the scattered nature of the protests make official numbers hard to come by. Participating groups included International ANSWER and United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ), two of the larger groups that have mobilized Americans against the war in Iraq, as well as local anti-war groups and a militant anarchist contingent that clashed with riot police on several occasions. Also present were numerous smaller groups and non-aligned protesters many places in DC, including in the crowds lining the parade route.

Dawn Rally @ Malcolm X Park, DC
Thursday: DAWN Rally @ Malcolm X Park

After a 2001 inauguration where the presidential limousine was pelted with eggs and other objects, the capitol's security apparatus was well prepared. Roughly 100 blocks of downtown DC were closed off to traffic with parked buses and concrete barricades. Barring entry to the parade route itself were a series of fences and lines of riot police in body armor carrying large batons and chemical gas guns. Parade-goers were padded down and searched at security checkpoints manned by uniformed military personnel. Units were present from the DC Metropolitan Police, Chicago Police Department, National Park Service, Secret Service, and others, including men in black on rooftops, which many suspected to be either snipers or surveillance personnel.

While there were only eight to ten arrests during the day, many were injured by police. In one of many confrontations, this one at the intersection of 7th and D streets around 1 PM, police charged an anarchist march swinging batons overhead and firing pepper spray indiscriminately, at times hitting photographers and journalists. During the encounter the anarchists threw poles, oranges and other items at the police, who were in riot gear. The police advanced with their batons, shoving and trampling protesters. Some, such as demonstrator Mike Erwin, reported being beaten, kicked and sprayed in the eyes with pepper spray at close range. Mr. Erwin described the pepper spray as being the most painful, stating that the "batons weren't really that bad." The police drove the march back
several blocks in scattered melees.

Later that evening roughly 70 individuals were arrested while marching in the streets of DC after leaving a punk rock show at midnight, allegedly headed to crash a Bush celebration party.

And while tight security prevented a repeat of the embarrassment of the 2001 parade, dissent was everywhere in the nation's capitol, including Mr. Bush's inauguration speech, which was interrupted by three different groups. The activists interrupted Mr. Bush with banners and chants of "Bring our troops home" and "No war". During the inauguration parade, which had heavy security even for such an event, Vice-President Cheney was hit with a snowball. And the night before, a black-tie ball thrown by the Texas State Society in honor of Bush's inauguration was the site of a street-theater style demonstration by the
groups Code Pink, Billionaires for Bush and a group calling itself the 'Reagan Home for the Criminally Insane'.

Abu Graib Fraternity

Protests were also held in most major cities in the United States, with several thousand marching in Los Angeles and an estimated 8,000 demonstrating in San Francisco against Bush and the War in Iraq, with supporting actions as far away as Tokyo.

The politics of the demonstrators in Washington included the range of progressives in America, from Kerry supporters, some of whom voiced condemnation of the tactics of the more radical groups, and Green party members, to Anarchists and Communist groups such as ANSWER. However, many of those who came to protest Bush either came with no affiliation or were to be found somewhere in the middle of that spectrum. The DC Anti-War Network (DAWN), a local organization that turned out that several thousand for their rally and march, represented diverse groups who came together on a few principles of unity, including support for the Palestinians and opposition to the War in Iraq. Karen O'Keefe, a DAWN organizer who spoke at a morning DAWN rally, says that her group represents "huge differences in opinion" that work together on a common cause.

Gerard Jean-Juste
DAWN Rally: Jean-Juste spoke of Bush's coup to remove Bertrand Artistide from office in Haiti (one of several speakers)

Present at the rally was Father Gerard Jean-Juste of Haiti, a clergyman who was imprisoned by the Haitian government while feeding the hungry. Mr. Jean-Juste spoke passionately about the connection between the Bush administration and the removal of former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide on February 29th of last year. Also speaking was David Cobb, the green party presidential candidate, and the rapper Son of Nun, who is a high school teacher in Baltimore. Son of Nun, whose name is a biblical reference, performed a piece that connected IMF (International Monetary Fund) policies, the situation in Haiti and the war in Iraq to a militant call to resist the Bush administration.

In among the protesters, who at times were mixed in with conspicuously affluent Bush supporters sporting cowboy hats and full-length fur coats, were small but vocal groups of counter-demonstrators. Present was the right-wing the group Protest Warrior, whose large, sandwich board style signs were similar to those of the protesters but with diametrically opposed messages. The interaction between protesters and Bush supporters was heated at times.




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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
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Index: Current Articles

22 January 2005

Other Articles From This Issue:

The End of the Road
Mick Hall

Reiss Pressed on Mark Thatcher Cautioned on Damage of Another Double Standard
Fr. Sean Mc Manus

Follow up on Saor Eire
Liam O Ruairc

Strong Resistance Felt at Bush's Second Inauguration
Christian Roselund, Patsy Crocker

An Old Friend from the Blanket
Anthony McIntyre

17 January 2005

Fed Up With the Lies
Michael Benson

Dolours Price

Brian Mór

Strategically induced crises pay rich electoral dividends for Sinn Fein
Anthony McIntyre

Old Foes Discover New Ideas
David Adams

Celebrate 100 Years by Undoing Betrayals
Dr. John Coulter

Saor Eire
Bob Purdie

‘At No Costs to Prisons': Three Books on Beckett
Seaghán Ó Murchú



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