President visits Davis-Monthan AFB

By Seth Mauzy
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Determined few turn out to protest Bush

While hundreds gathered at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base yesterday for President Bush's Tucson appearance, a dedicated group of more than 50 opponents of the administration showed up outside the event for a small protest.

Protesters gathered about 2 p.m. yesterday, 40 minutes before Bush was scheduled to speak. They assembled at the corner of East Golf Links Road and South Swan Road, outside the base's Swan Road entrance, to protest Bush's Tucson visit to talk about issues related to illegal immigration.

While about one-third of the protesters held signs demanding immigration reform, many took the opportunity to voice their dissatisfaction with other elements of Bush's agenda, from the war in Iraq and torture to abortion.

"I'm out here mainly to protest the war," said Sarah Gettinger, a history senior. "But I disagree with everything the Bush administration is doing."

Gettinger said she also disapproved with how Bush has been handling the problem of illegal immigration.

"My main problem with the border issue is the wall that's being built along our border, because if you look at walls in history, like the Berlin Wall, they didn't really work," Gettinger said. "A wall won't stop coyotes from bringing truckloads of people across the border."

Gettinger was one of only a few UA students who made it to the eastside protest, which Gettinger said was likely because of the event's distance from campus and the early afternoon time.

"I think it has a lot to with timing, not apathy," Gettinger said. "A lot of students are in class till 4 or 5, and with finals and graduation approaching, protests probably are not at the forefront of peoples' minds."

Gabriel Sarah, a graduate student in medicine, was one of a group of protesters holding up pink signs calling for continued protection of reproductive freedom. He said while he was most concerned with the issue of abortion, he was there to protest various aspects of the administration.

"I have problems with almost all of (Bush's) policies," Sarah said. "He's one of the first presidents to have so many human rights violations under his watch."

Sarah, a member of Medical Students for Choice, an international organization dedicated to advancing reproductive rights and protecting abortion rights laws, said that he was encouraged to see people with different concerns protesting together.

"Everyone is going to champion the causes they believe in the most," Sarah said. "I think it shows solidarity when people with different concerns can all come protest together."

Kat Rodriguez, a protester and coordinating organizer for the human rights and border reform group Derechos Humanos, also said she was glad to see people addressing a variety of issues.

"Anyone who wants to come out and oppose the Bush agenda is welcome," Rodriguez said. She said that the diverse array of issues supported by the protesters "shows a general discontent in the community with the administration."