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Monday January 22, 2001

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Demonstrators protest Bush's inauguration

Headline Photo

Associated Press

Masked protesters confront Metropolitan police outside the Navy Memorial Saturday in Washington during the inaugural parade.

By Emily Severson

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Various Tucson and UA organizations represented at the Tucson Federal Building

A throng of demonstrators gathered at the Tucson Federal Building Saturday with one thing in common - their opposition to the inauguration of President George W. Bush.

More than 200 protesters - from organizations such as the March Committee to Save Bilingual Education, the Southern Arizona Central Labor Council, the UA Students Against Sweatshops, the Center for Biological Diversity, the UA Young Greens and the UA Young Democrats - attended the march and rally, organized by the March Committee and coalition members.

They held signs with exclamations such as "Hail to the thief!" and "Supreme rip-off." They chanted, "The people united will never be defeated!" and "Black, Brown, Red, and White! Together we will fight!"

Melinda Mills, former University of Arizona Young Democrats president, said that she came to the demonstration because she felt like she had to do something.

"The majority of the people did not want Bush to be president," said Mills, a political science junior. "The Young Democrats don't plan on letting this go quietly. We will do anything to make sure Bush has a rough time as president."

She said the Young Democrats' goal is to raise the sympathies of the apathetic students at the UA.

The Young Greens attended the rally to express their support for a democracy.

One member, Hannah Pierce-Carlson, a physics and astronomy sophomore, said this election was the first time she could vote and she felt cheated. She added, it may seem after the fact, but it is never too late to voice an opinion.

"The Young Greens are here to stay," Pierce-Carlson said. "Our first step is to function as a watchdog for democracy for the next four years."

SAS members attended the protest as well.

"Basically, we are here because we support political movements that support people and the democratic process," said Mark Rivera, an SAS member and a philosophy senior. "We feel that this election process disregarded the will of many people."

Lane Van Ham, the speaker on behalf of SAS and a cultural studies graduate student, said it was time for a people's movement that emphasized creativity and solidarity.

"We need to do more than resist," Van Ham said. "We need to initiate."

Lydia Hallay, a women's studies and creative writing sophomore, carried a sign that said, "Keep Bush out of my bush." She said she felt Bush did not support a woman's right to an abortion and this was an important issue to her.

Acting director of UA African Studies Julian Kunnie, who formally spoke at the rally, said it was time for a revolution because Bush's election had pushed society back to the era of former President Ronald Reagan.

"I'm against George W. Bush because he makes greed respectable, racism popular and poor women poorer," he said. "We are not going to roll over and play dead, Mr. Bush."

He added that African-Americans are no longer a part of the minority population, but have become a part of the world's disenfranchised majority.

Daniel Patterson, a member of the Center for Biological Diversity, a non-profit Tucson agency, said he was strongly opposed to Bush's nomination of Gale Norton as the secretary of the interior.

"Putting Gale Norton in charge of the Department of the Interior is like appointing Bill Gates to monitor monopolies," Patterson said.

Renee Teyechea, a UA Chicano studies graduate student and a teacher at Apollo Middle School, also spoke at the rally, saying that Bush was out to destroy public education by offering private school vouchers.

"I heard it was raining in D.C. today," Teyechea said. "I want Bush to know it is going to rain on his parade for the next four years."