RSS FeedFacebookSearch
Gary Younge
Huge protest against Bush on eve of party meeting

But as the demonstrators marched, Republican delegates arrived in town hoping to open a significant lead over the Democratic challenger, John Kerry, for the first time this year. While Mr Bush continued to campaign through the swing states at the weekend ahead of the convention, the race remained a virtual dead heat. A Time magazine poll gave Mr Bush a two percentage point lead, but that was less than the margin of error.

The march, of an estimated 250,000 people, passed off peacefully, despite predictions of violence, with demonstrators wearing badges stating "Re-defeat President Bush" and banners proclaiming "Bush lied, thousands died". Several dozen were arrested, including around 50 on bicycles, but the overall feeling was more carnival than carnage.

"He shouldn't be president and he shouldn't be coming to New York city to take advantage of 9/11," said Sarah Johnson, from Newark, New Jersey. "He's already making the rest of the world hate us and if he gets back in there's no saying what he might do."

The protest, flanked by police in riot gear, took place amid the tightest security in the history of US politics, with one security officer for every 2.4 delegates at the Republican convention.

"Today we send our message," said Leslie Cagan, the leader of United for Peace and Justice, which organised the largest of what promises to be a week of demonstrations. "We come from all walks of life ... from cities and towns across this nation and together we will march and in a resounding clear voice we will say no to the Bush agenda."

Before the rally speakers, including the filmmaker Michael Moore, and Jesse Jackson, the civil rights activist, called for an end to the occupation of Iraq and the Bush administration.

Kelly Doherty, a former military police sergeant who served in Iraq for a year and helped establish Iraq Veterans Against the War, said: "This is also dehumanising United States troops who are also having their sense of patriotism and loyalty perverted and used by an administration that would send our women and men to fight, die and kill for lies."

Mr Bush raised eyebrows in his latest defence of the Iraq war, referring in an interview to the "catastrophic success" of the initial invasion, which he said created problems further down the line.

"Had we to do it over again, we would look at the consequences of catastrophic success, being so successful so fast that an enemy that should have surrendered or been done in escaped and lived to fight another day," he said.

The convention will see the administration veer towards the centre in an attempt to win undecided voters and secure the loyalty of moderate Republicans. The main primetime speakers, apart from the president, will be moderates, and the keynote address will be delivered on Wednesday by a rightwing Democrat, Zell Miller, a senator from Georgia.

Campaigning in Ohio and West Virginia at the weekend, Mr Bush emphasised themes aimed at swing voters, such as education and health services.

He also took another step in distancing himself from the most heated issue of the summer, the assault on Senator Kerry's Vietnam war record by a group calling itself Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. In an interview on NBC television, he drew a distinction with his own, relatively safe, service in the Texas Air National Guard.

"I think him going to Vietnam was more heroic than my flying fighter jets. He was in harm's way and I wasn't," Mr Bush said.

However, his wife, Laura, told Time magazine that advertisements questioning Mr Kerry's honesty about his record were not unfair.

· Liam Fox, the Conservative party chairman, will fly into New York for the Republican convention today despite a row between Michael Howard and George Bush.

© Gary Younge. All Rights reserved, site built with tlc
Stranger in a Strange Land – Encounters in the Disunited States
book review
'It often takes an outsider to look inside. This is especially true of the United States.'
 follow on twitter
RT @GoldsmithsUCU: 💥💥💥 Our rally is tomorrow! We are demanding that management #ReistateDesAndGholam to HoD duties with immediate effect. A…
RT @jotaemi: Acabo de llegir això del @garyyounge sobre la importància que coses que passen cada dia arribin a les notícies. Per exemple, a…
RT @pplsassembly: Volunteers needed for this Sunday’s demonstration in Victoria square, Birmingham. Please send an email if you can help t…
@MichaelRosenYes My 57-year-old brother, Wayne, is right behind you. I was named after Gary Sobers. Quite where a r… https://t.co/3mUHlOpi9Z
RT @GoldsmithsUCU: We are organising an important rally this Tuesday, 27th to defend @lazebnic and @gkhiabany from trade union victimisatio…
Most popular baby names for 2022 as 'extinct' choice makes a comeback - Gary is back https://t.co/rRlktRyQz9
RT @THEworldsummits: The THE World Academic Summit is just around the corner! Don’t miss our jam-packed agenda, including key session: ‘Un…
Financial Times: "The reductions in income tax mean that an individual earning £200,000 stands to make annual tax s… https://t.co/1Gj3oexgEZ
RT @PINsykes: I’ve wanted to i/v @garyyounge since his 2017 investigation Beyond The Blade. In this ep of DIR,Gary explains why knife crime…
RT @ucu: University vice chancellors: a true story. Watch, share, and then Vote YES. #ucuRISING https://t.co/VPEVuBEs5f
© Gary Younge. All Rights reserved, site built with tlc