ledger story 8/30
Here is what I worte for the Patriort Ledger. I liked it and was glad to show an otherwise conservative community that there some of their neighbors are so dissatisfied with Bush that they were willing to stick out an arduous march on a sweltering day. This story ran on page one, not becasue it was so good, but becasue we never have copy for Monday. I used interviews with South Shore marchers and police as well as AP wire stories for all my info.
Throngs flock to NYC for anti-war march: South Shore residents hit the streets in protest
By CAITLIN JOHNSON
For The Patriot Ledger
NEW YORK - Linda Jacobs is so dismayed by the war in Iraq and the lagging economy that she decided to take to the streets to voice her dissatisfaction.
The 56-year-old unemployed information technology technician left her home in Halifax before the sun came up yesterday to go to Providence and take the four-hour bus trip to New York City. She joined hundreds of thousands of protesters there on the eve of the Republican National Convention.
‘‘Everyone has to wake up,'' said Jacobs, a member of Bridgewater-based Citizens for an Informed Community. ‘‘My fear is that the mainstream just dismisses this. One of the reasons we're all here is to call attention.''
New York City police made more than 200 arrests yesterday during the protest march, organized by the anti-war group United for Peace and Justice.
Police, wearing riot gear and carrying clubs, were out in droves for the march, which snaked its way up Seventh Avenue, turned in front of Madison Square Garden - the site of the convention - and finished at Union Square. There were no reports of serious violence, but police said one person was arrested on 33rd Street and Seventh Avenue for arson after allegedly setting a papier-mâché dragon on fire.
On Friday, 264 cyclists were arrested for disorderly conduct during a bicycle protest and 25 more people were arrested Saturday. Last month, during the Democratic National Convention in Boston, police arrested four throughout the convention.
For all the speculation about anarchist threats and violent civil disobedience, the diverse, 2-mile-long line of demonstrators yesterday moved along at an extremely slow pace and in relative harmony.
‘‘It was the slowest-moving march we've been involved in,'' said David Smith of Milton, who attended the demonstration with his wife and two sons. ‘‘It took us an hour and a half to move three blocks.''
Young Communists danced and chanted alongside grandmothers and grandfathers. Some marchers hoisted up signs reading: ‘‘Say no to the Bush Agenda'' and ‘‘Bush Lies. Who Dies?'' Others carried makeshift cardboard coffins, representing American soldiers killed in the Iraq war.
Organizers estimated the crowd at 500,000, double the number they had predicted. Police offered no official estimate.
Despite the sweltering 85-degree heat and the crowds, Smith, 60, an English teacher at Milton Academy and member of Milton for Peace, said the march was worth it.
‘‘You have to show up for these things. It was wonderful to see everybody there ...the variety of signs,'' he said.
Frances Jefferies of Bridgewater brought her 9-year-old grandson, Alexander Lamie, to the march.
He held a sign that read: ‘‘Kids care. We're aware. Don't mess with us, we'll be president someday.''
Jefferies, director of the office of grants and special projects at Bridgewater State College, said she helped begin Citizens for an Informed Community to oppose the war in Iraq. Now, she and her fellow members have turned their sights to ousting President Bush. Reluctantly, she said, she will throw her support behind Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, the Democratic challenger.
‘‘We will vote for Kerry not out of choice, but as a vote against Bush,'' Jefferies said. ‘‘I don't have a strong sense of (Kerry's) leadership.''
Smith also was protesting to express his dissatisfaction with an administration that ‘‘has done nothing that I agree with.''
Carolyn Nikhal, of Jamaica Plain, marched happily through the streets wearing a red, white and blue hat and a ‘‘No Blood for Oil'' T-shirt.
‘‘I'm here for me. I don't want this kind of world,'' said Nikhal, 58, a psychotherapist.
She said President Bush's domestic, social and foreign policy frightens her. ‘‘I just felt like it's important for everyone to turn out. It's not just this war. It's the endless war he has planned.''
Copyright 2004 The Patriot Ledger
Transmitted Monday, August 30, 2004