Sunday, September 30, 2007

Anti-Bush Protesters Arrested

By Karen Matthews
Associated Press
September 25, 2007

NEW YORK - About a dozen war protesters were arrested Tuesday morning during a peaceful demonstration against President Bush's speech before the U.N. General Assembly.

They were among about 400 protesters opposing the Bush administration's war in Iraq and its incarceration in Guantanamo Bay of more than 300 men on suspicion of terrorism or links to al-Qaida or the Taliban. Many in the crowd wore orange jumpsuits in solidarity with the Guantanamo detainees.

"I'm sick to my stomach about the war in Iraq," said Anastasia Gomes, 22, of Queens. "We as the youth are standing up and saying this president does not represent us."

Police took the arrested demonstrators into custody by police after they knelt on the sidewalk in an act of civil disobedience at the rally near the United Nations. One of them, 58-year-old Bill Ofenloch, said they were trying to serve an "arrest warrant" on Bush for "high crimes against humanity."

Members of the anti-war group Code Pink performed a bit of street theater where a person wearing a Bush mask was arrested.

"What do we say?" shouted Code Pink's Medea Benjamin. "Arrest the criminal!"

The crowd picked up the chant. Once the arrests were made, the rest of the group began marching downtown. The demonstrators, in orderly fashion, walked along the sidewalks because they lacked a permit for a street march.

In his speech, Bush announced sanctions against the military dictatorship in Myanmar, accusing it of imposing "a 19-year reign of fear" that denies basic freedoms of speech, assembly and worship.

A White House spokesman, asked to comment on the protest, issued a statement that said: "One of the most basic and precious rights our Constitution guarantees its citizens is the right to peacefully protest and express one's views."

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