Coalition of Anti-War Groups Protest Bush's Visit to the UN.NYC 26 Sep 2007 14:08 GMT
Orange was the color of choice for those affiliated with World Can’t Wait, and orange jumpsuits that said Torture plus silence equals complicity were numerous. The orange jumpsuits at times were shackled together, staging a mock demonstration of the conditions of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. Code Pink held their own mock theater act, staging an “arrest” of a woman with a George Bush mask on. Sajida, a PhD student at Columbia who would later speak on the main platform set up by World Can’t Wait, remarked that the anti-war movement needs to a better job of “appealing to people on the periphery”.
Appealing to people on the periphery was certainly not the theme of the day, as there were the usual signs and slogans comparing George W. Bush to Adolf Hitler. Sunsara Taylor, a prominent member of World Can’t Wait who sits on their advisory board and writes for Revolution Newspaper, said that the current Bush Administration policies and the crimes that have been committed “dwarf those of Hitler”. In addition to Sunsara Taylor speaking, Deborah Sweet, the leader of World Can’t Wait, spoke, as well as Elaine Brower, the mother of a G.I. who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Also, different representatives from college campuses spoke, including ones from Columbia, John Jay and Hunter. The representatives from Students for a Democratic Society departed from the expected anti-Bush rhetoric, expanding there anti-war speech to include a anti-capitalist bent.
Most of the event was tame and peaceful, except for at the end when a group of about 10 people, protesting the conditions of Guantamano Bay by wearing orange jumpsuits shackled together, decided to take the message out of the designated “protest zone”. About 15 police officers were rushed over to decide on what to do, and the 10 protestors were arrested. The most contentious part of the whole debacle was when at least three members of World Can’t Wait decided to climb over the barricade, causing a scuffle with the NYPD. These three members were also arrested, but not before Lt. Graham of the NYPD threatened the whole crowd with a can of pepper spray. He came to the forefront of the area where the WCW members climbed over, brandishing a can, effectively warning the crowd to stop causing a ruckus. The National Lawyers Guild was on hand to document the arrests, and witnesses’ emails were being written down so the NLG could contact them for further information.
The usual protest, with the given peddling of Revolution newspaper, was on hand here. The most eventful part of the morning was certainly the arrest, and the 10-minute standoff between protestors and police. After the speeches were done with, the police dispersed the crowd, starting first with the various coffin bearers, representing dead American soldiers and dead Iraqi civilians.