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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Anti Bush rallies held

WASHINGTON — As President George W. Bush was being sworn in for his second term, thousands of protesters took to the streets of Washington D.C. to voice their opposition to the administration’s policies.

People from around the nation flocked to the capital to participate in rallies, marches and other demonstrations, including the D.C. Anti-War Network’s “Die-In.”

One block from the White House protestors planned to lay down in an intersection to symbolize the lives lost in the Iraqi and Afghani occupations. Carrying flowers and names of those killed, the Die-In was one of the few publicized events not to be given a permit from the city.

During the inauguration Parade, participants of Turn Your Back on Bush turned their backs in unison on the presidential limousine convoy. Members were encouraged to blend in with the mostly pro-Bush crowd before their defiance was displayed.

Turn Your Back on Bush was an expanded concept from the 2002 graduation at Ohio State University, where students and faculty turned their backs to President Bush during his commencement speech. Word spread across the nation about the actions taken by students at Ohio State and it now has organizers in many cities. Co-founder Emilie Karrick, a native of Washington D.C., calls it “a real grass-roots effort.”

Groups trying to bring awareness to various causes, ranging from women’s reproductive rights to bringing an end to the war in Iraq, were in full force despite the low temperatures in the capital. Many streets in the heart of the city were closed off from the public as part of the event’s heightened security.

Some protestors did not approve of the restrictions set on their activities by the inauguration ceremony’s tight security.

“Enjoy the streets, they’re ours,” an organizer from Code Pink said to a crowd that marched en route to protest zones that were designated up to a mile away from the ceremony.

Code Pink was one of many activist groups involved in the Women’s March and Funeral Procession.

The funeral procession was complete with women in black veils and caskets draped in the American flag, and was adorned with the various civil liberties these organizations feel have been stripped of the populace by the current administration.

M.J. Muser, an activist and political organizer from Cleveland, was drowned out by screams after saying “You ladies got to get loud,” before the Women’s March Funeral Procession began in Dupont Circle.

The founder of, David Lytel, urged the participants to make themselves heard.

“We will demonstrate for you and the world … why democracy is the greatest form of government,” Lytel said at the D.C. Anti-War Network’s rally.

Satirical groups like Billionaires for Bush came dressed in tuxedos and evening gowns.

R. Owens Laws — known as Glenn Marcus of the Billionaires — welcomed the protests because, as he put it, “it gave the appearance of freedom of speech.”

Billionaires for Bush held a mock auction prior to the inauguration ceremony, offering up Social Security and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to the highest bidder.

Though the Billionaires enjoy portraying an extreme sect of Bush supporters, the group has a more serious motive, awareness.

“We came to remind the people that this is a government for the rich, by the rich and of the rich,” Marcus said.

Despite the various issues that protestors stood in the snowy-cold weather to represent, there was unity between the organizations. Marches merged together and activists intermingled between speakers.

“A lot of groups are helping each other out,” said Jim MacDonald, program coordinator for the D.C. Anti-War Network. In contrast, interaction between police and protestors seemed to be minimal, and most visitors here to view the inauguration Ceremonies were not bothered by the demonstrations.

“Everybody has a right to their own opinions,” said Amanda Rifenberg of Florida, who attended the event to support Bush.

Allegations of attacks against protestors were the only hints of violence throughout the day.

Though Bush has been confirmed the winner of November’s election by more than three million votes over Senator John Kerry, protestors who came to Washington, D.C. from around the nation wanted to make sure their leader knew that a 2 percent margin of victory does not necessarily award him the will of the people.

“I came here to show Bush that he doesn’t have a mandate,” said Tom Hopkins, a protester from Greensboro, NC.

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