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The Battle for New York: 500,000 March Against Bush in Historic Antiwar Protest

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More than half a million people take to the streets in New York City to protest the Bush agenda on the eve of the Republican National Convention in a historic march organized by the nation’s largest anti-war organization. [includes rush transcript]

Welcome to Democracy Now!'s special coverage of the RNC here in New York City, Breaking With Convention: The Battle For New York. I'm Amy Goodman With Juan Gonzalez.

Well, yesterday was a historic day. More than half a million people took to the streets of New York in a march organized by the nation’s largest anti-war organization, United for Peace and Justice. March organizers said the numbers far exceeded their expectations. In fact, it was so massive that the lead contingent had finished marching long before thousands of people could even move from the starting point at Union Square. UFPJ organizers said the procession was a victory of courage over fear and a rejection of what they said was a concerted effort by law enforcement agencies and several powerful media outlets to scare people out of taking to the streets to protest. Here is United for Peace and Justice National Coordinator Leslie Cagan.

  • Leslie Cagan, speaking after the United for Peace and Justice march.

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

JUAN GONZALEZ: Here is United for Peace and Justice national coordinator, Leslie Cagan.

LESLIE CAGAN: Well, I think today was absolutely fabulous. That what happened today was that people from all walks of life, from every community of New York and really from all around the country, gathered and said, for this day we’re going to stand together and in one voice we’re going to say no to the Bush agenda. And what we understand is that agenda has many parts, and some of us work on some parts of that agenda, but if we don’t work together we’re never going to defeat that agenda. And I think today with the hundreds of thousands of people that came out, it was much bigger than we had anticipated. I think we’ve sent a very clear message, not only to George Bush but also to John Kerry, that this movement is alive, it’s strong, that we’re determined to end this occupation in Iraq, we’re determined to turn around the economic priorities of this country, we’re determined to end the PATRIOT Act. The whole package of foreign policy and domestic policy is just we’re determined to keep working on. And today, it was you know, that moment of hope, and that moment of potential. And that is what you saw on the streets of New York.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Leslie Cagan of United for Peace and Justice.

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