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LOCAL News :: Peace & War : Protest Activity

Norfolk protest greets Bush's visit

President Bush's speaking engagement in downtown Norfolk greeted by spirited protest.
Despite the cold and rain, a spirited group of protestors gathered to greet President Bush in Norfolk this morning. The president was speaking about homeland security and his war on terrorism on the invitiation of the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce. Although the speaking engagement was hastily announced only a week ago, the protest was able to materialize on such short notice. This author is horrible at estimating crowd numbers, but estimates maybe 40 people - anyone have a better count? The opposition's numbers were decidedly lacking: only 2 sad sacks decked out in red, white and blue.

The crowd gathered behind neon yellow fencing put up and guarded by Norfolk police, across St. Paul's from the Chrysler Hall where the president was speaking. Others gathered on the corners at the busy intersection of Brambleton Ave. While the presidential motorcade was arriving and departing, the crowd chanted fervently, booed, hissed, and yelled, "Bush lies, people die,' among other choice words.

One protestor, Tom Palumbo, actually bought a ticket to the event. When Bush started to talk about the war on terrorism, Palumbo stood up and cried out that 'War is terrorism - torture is terrorism.' He opened up his sweater to reveal a 'Dump Bush' t-shirt and called for the president's resignation before being promptly escorted out by the Secret Service. He was detained for a short while, but was not arrested.

With the majority of Americans now opposed to Bush's war in Iraq, the protestors were fairly well representative of the many facets of our citizenry: young and old; white and black; men and women; workers, students and retirees. The presence of a few babies and dogs reminded us that you're never too young (or furry) to exercise your right to dissent. Signs were plentiful and creative. This author does not have any pictures. Would anyone like to share theirs?

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