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200+ from Chicago protest Bush inauguration

Four busloads of protestors headed back safely to Chicago after participating in a wide range of protest activities at the Bush inauguration
The historic and successful protests against the Bush inauguration included over 200 participants from the Chicago area.

A hastily formed coalition of progressive groups chartered four buses and filled them nearly to capacity in two weeks of activity. Other protestors flew or traveled by car.

Chicago activists were on hand at all the major protest points: at the Freedom Plaza rally organized by the International Action Center, at the shadow inauguration organized by Black leaders including Rev. Al Sharpton, at the Votermarch protests which marched from Dupont Circle to the Ellipse, in direct actions along the route of the parade, and at the rally organized by the National Organization for Women.

The buses left Washington at 7 p.m. local time, with no known arrests or casualties among their numbers.

Freedom Plaza and the surrounding streets were filled with protestors, who also liberated an entire section of bleachers which had been reserved for Republican fat cats.

At one point, CNN estimated that of 350,000 people who had come to Washington for the inauguration, over half were there for the counterinaugural protests.

IAC organizer Larry Holmes told the Freedom Plaza protest, "All up and down Pennsylvania Avenue, all along the route of their parade, people are holding the same signs that you are. What an embarrassment for them! This was supposed to be their coronation! Instead, it's the inauguration of a whole new radical movement."

The largest contingent among the Chicago activists was organized by the Campaign to End the Death Penalty and the International Socialist Organization, which accounted for two of the four buses. The Chicago Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal and its supporters at the Eighth Day Center for Justice provided important financial support for the mobilization. The New World Resource Center provided meeting space and sold tickets, while most of the last-minute tickets were sold from the Loop office of News and Letters. Votermarch Chicago sent a large contingent. Other participating organizations included Hammerhard Mediaworks, the Democratic Socialists of America, the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade, and the Direct Action Network.

"The whole Chicago mobilization was characterized by a really high level of trust, cooperation, and mutual respect among a really diverse group of left and progressive organizations," said Pete Kimball of the International Action Center. "Organization was sometimes loose to say the least. But that's what it's like when the movement is in a period of rapid expansion, as it is today."



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