Local activists protest re-election of Bush

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By Griffith Fuller

By Griffith Fuller

Protesters in Riverside expressed their discontent with the re-election of President George Bush and the occupation of Iraq on Nov. 6.

About 40 protesters lined the sidewalk of Tyler Street near the entrance to the Galleria with signs in their hands facing toward ongoing traffic coming from the 91 freeway.

“Coward, go fight them!” screamed a protester to a driver passing who had expressed opposition. Another opponent closer to the protesters shouted from his car window, “I’ve done my service; you guys have never done anything!”

Several protesters stood on the corner with a bullhorn shouting “No war!” as they played the drum sets before them. Occasionally drivers would pass and shout out of their windows “F**k Bush!” or “Right on!” One of the most often heard chants during the rally was “Bush Lies, Soldiers Die!”

Dick Morris, one of the leaders of Riverside Area Peace and Justice Action, the organization that assembled the rally, played his drum while walking back and forth chanting.

The signs protesters held up read blunt in-your-face comments like “Bush is a terrorist” and “Do you feel safer yet?”

Another sign was one posted to a pole next to a medium size cardboard cut-out of Bush that read “Sign a petition to send Bush to Mars.”

Amidst the chants and signs there was still a goal.

“Our purpose is to say to the people in general that we are opposed to the war and occupation of Palestine,” said Richard Reynoso, an active member of Riverside Area Peace and Justice Action. “The most important thing we have to do is to inform the people.”

Some of the members of Riverside Area Peace and Justice Action handed out fliers and Iraq war “fact sheets” to drivers willing to roll down their windows and accept them.

“The majority of people receive information from mainstream media. Mainstream media have their own objectives; they’re not the same as working class people in this country,” Reynoso said.

Some younger protesters were also out expressing their feelings about Bush and the war in Iraq.

“Osama did it, not Saddam,” said Claire DeAtley, a 15 year old. “Saddam had a law that didn’t allow the presence of religious extremists.”

While some Americans are contemplating whether they should flee the United States, others are willing to stay and take back the country.

“I would get out of here if I could, but my parents aren’t rich enough for the tax cuts (made by Bush),” DeAtley said.

Along with several other University of California Riverside students, Elizabeth Venable, a member of Coalition for Peace and Human Rights at UCR, showed up to the protest to give her support.

“I’m disappointed that the American people didn’t get Bush out of the White House,” Venable said. “I was frustrated with the Kerry campaign, and I’d still be protesting even if Kerry was elected.”

When asked what she would say to people who might consider her actions unpatriotic, she said: “It might appear anti-patriotic, but it doesn’t mean I don’t have a connection with the community. I consider myself a citizen of the world, not just a citizen of the U.S.”

Everyone at the protest was very passionate about what they were doing. Even after organization leader Morris announced the end of the rally at 4 p.m., protesters still stuck around holding up signs until a majority of the crowd left about 15 minutes later.

Riverside Area Peace and Justice Action members are not finished yet with anti-war demonstrations. They hold demonstrations every Friday from 6-7 p.m. on Iowa and University avenues in Riverside.

When asked what could be done to fix things,Venable had an idea.

“I guess my solution (to the problem) would be support for economic equality; bring people out of poverty.” Venable said.

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