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USC Daily Trojan covers pro-Bush Iranian/American Rally!

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2004 5:24 pm    Post subject: USC Daily Trojan covers pro-Bush Iranian/American Rally! Reply with quote

Bush draws a crowd
Staff writer

President George W. Bush's visit to Southern California on Wednesday was marked by demonstrations from more than 130 supporters and opponents who packed onto the four corners of Jefferson Boulevard and Shrine Place in the early evening.

The demonstrators, both for and against the president, waved signs and shouted slogans at the drivers passing the Shrine Auditorium where Bush was scheduled to speak at 5:35 p.m.

With the clock ticking down to the November presidential election, Bush planned a three-day visit to California in hopes of raising funds for his re-election campaign.

The anti-Bush corner was home to about 80 people of all ages waving signs reading everything from a general "Stop Bush" to the more specific "End Occupation in Iraq" and "Immigrant Rights."

Many of the anti-Bush signs were provided by the Act Now to Stop War and End Racism organization, but they were joined by groups such as Code Pink, The Socialist Organization and Out Against War as well as by individuals simply wanting to be heard.

Those gathered at the corner shouting against Bush's policies felt it was necessary to protest even at a fundraising event to open the eyes of Californians.

"I hope to call attention to the fact that other people who think he should not be president will know they are not alone," said Eda Hallinan, a member of the women's peace group Code Pink.

"Bush is probably the worst president this country has ever had," she said. "I think that we are so much worse off now than when he first took office, in terms of the economy and our own security."

Along with the sea of anti-Bush posters, the protesters chanted their messages from a megaphone with sayings such as, "George Bush we know you your daddy was a killer too," and "Hands off Haiti."

But despite the loud anti-Bush sentiments, Bush supporters were not deterred from standing their ground. The largest group of Bush advocates at the four corners was a group of Iranians waving flags and shouting praises of the president's international policies.

"We're here to support President Bush because he's for democracy, not only in Iran, but around the world," said 59-year-old Reza Ershadi.

Fellow conservatives praised the Iranian effort to support Bush saying that they were dedicated and knew that Bush could help them.

"These guys have been here since 3 p.m.," said Ron Smith pointing to the Iranians. "Think about it, they've got family in Iran. They've got family right now in a brutal regime, and they're saying, 'well we appreciate what you did in Iraq, how about coming over here and helping us out in Iran.'"

The topics of demonstration on both sides ranged from the war in Iraq, the issues in Haiti, and same-sex marriage rights.

"People don't support a war in Iraq, but if you look at it, we've liberated an oppressed people," said Ryan Reid, a business administration student at USC. "Saddam Hussein, thank God we caught him. He's killed over a million of his own people since the 1980s, and these people obviously wanted to keep him in power. I think we did the right thing."

While the conservative groups supported and even welcomed Bush's occupation of Iraq and his goal to "stop terrorism," liberal groups remained pessimistic about his true motives.

"If you wait, Bush will take everything you have, and that's a guarantee. He will take your oil, he will take everything," said Lyzegte Blanco, a senior at Harbor College. "That's pretty much why we got Saddam Hussein out of office, because we wanted the oil. With Bush, there's always a hidden meaning."
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