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Tucsonans protest start of RNC

CHRIS CODUTO/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Barbara Mocking of Tucson holds a sign on the corner of East Fifth Street and North Craycroft Road yesterday afternoon. Mocking was one of about 200 people who lined the two streets to protest the start of the Republican National Convention.
By Zach Colick
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, August 30, 2004
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Protesters gathered at the local Republican Party headquarters last night, on the eve of the beginning of the 2004 Republican National Convention, to show their support for Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry and to denounce President Bush and his policies.

The 200 or so protesters stood at the corner of East Fifth Street and North Craycroft Road waving signs that read, "Show Bush the door," "U.S. out of Iraq," "Peace" and "Not another four years," prompting motorists passing by to honk their horns and yell in support of the cause.

Among the spectacles at the protest were a man on stilts dressed as Uncle Sam and people dressed in weapons of mass destruction inspection uniforms.

The enlarged Uncle Sam stood tall with a large white cane drawing attention to the protesters at the Republican Party headquarters.

The WMD inspectors were clad in full white toxic suit regalia, and told the crowd there weren't any WMDs in Iraq in opposition to what the Bush administration has claimed.

The UA students who attended the rally wanted their voices heard on various issues that they said Bush wasn't addressing and hope that Kerry will.

Elisa Kruger, a second-year architecture student, was there to protest Bush and his stance on gay marriage, but she said she isn't totally convinced Kerry is the man to run the country.

"You have to find a happy medium, which we don't really have; but Kerry is definitely better than Bush," she said.

"(Kerry) doesn't support gay marriage completely, he just wants to find a middle ground," Kruger said. "At least he doesn't plan on outlawing it."

Harmony Serlin, a sophomore majoring in Spanish, attended the rally because she thinks Bush isn't addressing key issues that are important to her like women's rights.

"I want Kerry to address more women's rights and (I think) he's doing a good job of that and I know he's in support of it," Serlin said. "The U.S. should go back to what it was with Clinton."

The issue of voting was also an important topic for those who attended the rally last night.

Ana Muniz, a women's studies sophomore, said there are about 22 million young women who are eligible to vote this election year who didn't four years ago because they didn't feel comfortable with the candidates.

"We're hoping to get young women of color to vote in this election because young women have a huge voice," Muniz said.

Muniz has registered women around the UA to vote this election and believes many of those 22 million women will want their voices heard this year.

"Washington will ignore you if you let them," she said. "If you get 22 million women to vote, then they can't ignore you anymore."

Serlin said she's excited for the upcoming election and plans to vote in the presidential election.

"I got my friends to register to vote and I'm registered to vote," Serlin said.

Muniz believes Kerry is the better candidate because more women's voices will be heard with him in office.

"I think Kerry's definitely a better candidate, considering what Bush has done about women's reproductive rights and all other sorts of women's issues," she said.

Serlin also wants Kerry to have a better policy on foreign affairs and believes that Kerry was right about how Bush and his administration approached the war.

"It's going to be very, very scary if we get another four years with the current president in power," said Wade Richardson, a material sciences and engineering senior.

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