Protesters, Most Peaceful, Stream through Manhattan

Article excerpt

Drums resonated rhythmically through the streets, people danced to the beat of anti-Bush chants, and a giant inflatable pig floated by, an inscription on its flank reading "Piggy Piggy GOP." It was all part of the World Says No to the Bush Agenda march on Sunday, the day before the Republican National Convention begins, and it transformed the streets of New York into an anti-Republican, anti- Bush brouhaha.

The march, a mixture of street theater and political fervor, drew a diverse crowd of locals and out-of-towners, teenage anarchists and members of MOB, or Mothers Opposing Bush. Yet despite the massive crowds - estimated anywhere between 120,000 and 400,000 - the day was relatively peaceful. There were occasional incidents of police and protester tension, as well as a 25-minute halt in the march when protesters lit fire to a 40-foot St. George's dragon they had created, an effigy of George W. Bush. Yet the majority of the marchers seemed to want to maintain a calm, nonviolent approach.

"I just want to show George Bush that I strongly disagree with his policies," said Rebecca Lieberman, a health educator from Englewood, N.J. "I disagree with the Republican stance on stem-cell research, abortion, and gay marriage, and I want to tell them this."

Colorful bits of political activism highlighted the day's march. One group organized people to carry 1,000 flag-draped coffins, representing the soldiers who have died so far in the war in Iraq. People also crafted huge papier-mache puppets emulating President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

Many New Yorkers shouted out chants like "GOP, go home!" and "GOP not wanted here." Yet some protesters realized that many Americans do not feel similarly.

"The whole entire Midwest and central block of the US seems blind about how much the world hates the US," commented Theresa Avega, a member of Code Pink, a women's movement for peace. …