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2004-08-31

Still We Rise: Poor People March Against the 'Bush-Kerry' Agenda

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The Kensington Welfare Rights Union holds an unpermitted march in New York to protest policies of both George W. Bush and John Kerry. Filmmaker Rick Rowley of Big Noise Tactical Media files a report from the streets of the march. [includes rush transcript]

As the Republican National Convention builds toward George W Bush’s acceptance speech on Thursday night, the streets of New York continue to be filled with police and protesters. So far, more than 600 arrests have been made. Yesterday, there were two main marches-both organized by groups representing the poor or disenfranchised. The Kensington Welfare Rights Union held an unpermitted march, which went on for several hours before ending in police dividing the march and arresting some of the demonstrators.

Earlier in the day, the "Still We Rise" coalition led an unpermitted march from Union Square to the heavily fortified and barricaded Madison Square Garden, where the Republican Convention was just kicking off. Filmmaker Rick Rowley of Big Noise Tactical Media was on the march and filed this report.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: As the Republican National Convention builds towards George W. Bush’s acceptance speech on Thursday night, the streets continue to be filled with police and protestors. So far, more than 600 arrests have been made. Yesterday, there were two main marches, both organized by groups representing the poor and disenfranchised, the Kensington Welfare Rights Union held an un-permitted march, which went on for several hours before police dividing the marchers and arresting some of the demonstrators. Earlier in the day, the Still We Rise Coalition led an un-permitted march from Union Square to the heavily fortified and barricaded Madison Square Garden, where the Republican Convention was just kicking off. Filmmaker Rick Rowley of Big Noise Tactical Media was on the march and filed this report.

RICK ROWLEY: They marched for a range of causes under the shared banner of resistance to a political system that they say marginalizes poor communities and communities of color. While their protests came on the first day of the Republican National Convention, their anger was not only directed at George W. Bush. They marched against the agendas of both major political parties, the protestors were a mix of young people from urban or immigrant communities. They were working families and the economically disenfranchised.

PROTESTOR: This is a special day, in which poverty comes to the White House, comes to the republicans. That core of working people are taking to the streets. 35 organizations comprise the Still We Rise Coalition. And quite frankly, these are the communities that live the repression every day, right? So this is not [inaudible] — Today they’re going to say "ya basta! This is enough." And these issues have come out to light.

PROTESTOR: Still We Rise. You can’t hold us down. You can’t hold us down. You take everything away from us, you can’t hold us down. This is the poor people’s march. You know, and we are, we represent New York City.

RICK ROWLEY: The march was spirited and colorful. The demonstrators danced, sang and chanted their way through the streets. While the war in Iraq is prominent in the minds of many protestors, many at yesterday’s rally spoke of what they see as the war at home.

SABRINA PARKER: My name is Sabrina Parker and I’m marching with Mothers on the Move, because I believe that we should have education money, not for jails. I believe we should have housing, affordable housing for everyone. I believe that we should have criminal justice rights. And I believe that Bush needs to know that we’re not happy with what he’s doing and he must go.

PROTESTOR: Homelessness has escalated for the last two decades. Whether the donkey’s in or the elephant is in, the masses are moving. This is a government by the people, not the elite, by the people, not banking interests, by the people, not the oil industry. The people have come to take back their government.

PROTESTOR: That piece produced by Rick Rowley of Big Noise Tactical Media for Democracy Now!

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