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News ::
Anti-inaugural protests draw over 100
23 Jan 2001
100 - 150 people brave the cold to speak out against Bush. (Also posted at dc.indymedia.org)
Despite a cold and windy winter afternoon, between 100 and 150 people protested the Bush ascendency to the White House on the steps of the federal courthouse in Urbana, Illinois. At an open microphone, many citizens of Urbana-Champaign and the surrounding area expressed their disgust with the minority election of George W. Bush as President, as well as the disenfranchisement of so many people, particularly minority people in the Florida election.

Songs, chants, and signs drew attention from passers-by. For approximately two hours, drivers blew their horns in support of the protesters. Speeches emphasized the need for people to mobilize to ensure that the Bush presidency does not realize its destructive potential.

Concerns about reforming electoral practices, gay rights being undermined, corporations being given even more power, the environment being trampled, and equal justice will being made a mockery were all expressed. In addition, speakers addressed the need to stop Bush cabinet appointees who represent an extreme right-wing ideology.

"What's wrong with slavery after all?" asked one observer, mockingly. "Now we can have a REAL death penalty," jeered another.

Calls for unity in opposing the Bush agenda received loud cheers, as protesters prepared to mobilize against a president who did not win the popular vote.

Lesbian/Gay/Transgender/Bisexual activist and protest organizer Mary Lee Sargent expressed deep regret that she and others will be moved from advocating for expanded LGBT rights to protecting the rights she and others have won. "We are now in the position of needing a pro-democracy movement within our own country," Sargent lamented.

Before the main rally at the courthouse began, two other inauguration day actions were completed. At noon, local supporters of the National Organization for Women rallied in support of abortion rights. Their rally took place at the former law offices of newly-elected U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson. Johnson was formerly a state legislator and a well-known opponent of abortion and rights for LGBT people.

A funeral procession for democracy also concluded at the federal courthouse as the rally began. Some mourners carried a seven-foot coffin labeled "democracy" while others carried signs in the shape of headstones bearing statements like "RIP: Labor rights."
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