In New York, nearly 1,000 people were arrested yesterday in widespread protests against the Republican National Convention. The protests were organized by the A31 Action Coalition, a decentralized umbrella group made up of scores of activist organizations and affinity groups. Yesterday’s arrests brought the number of arrests over the past five days to over 1500.
The groups participating in yesterday’s coordinated actions ranged from the War Resisters League to the Ruckus Society to Code Pink to Direct Action to the San Francisco-based Stop the War.
Near Ground Zero, police preemptively arrested about 200 as they attempted to begin an unpermited peaceful procession to Madison Square Garden.
Yesterday afternoon protesters gathered outside Fox News to conduct a Shut-up-a-thon. Others rallied at the Soethby’s auction house to defend the legacy of Johnny Cash. Many more demonstrators conducted unpermited but non-violent direct action protests that crippled the area around Madison Square Garden and delayed some delegates from attending the convention.
And protests continue today. A symbolic unemployment line is being formed to stretch from Wall Street to Madison Square Garden.
United For Peace and Justice has called for a rally outside Pier 57 where many protesters are being held. The group is describing the holding cell as “Guantanamo on the Hudson.”
Meanwhile Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly had praised his officers saying they have shown “great restraint in the face of relentless provocation.”
Inside Madison Square Garden, the Austrian-born California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger called on fellow immigrants to support the Republican party and George Bush.
Also last night the president’s daughters attempted to reach out to younger voters in a speech filled with jokes laced with pop culture references to Sex In the City and hip hop group Outcast.
First Lady Laura Bush headlined the evening praising how her husband is waging the war on terror.
Tonight Vice President Dick Cheney will be the keynote speaker. Sources close to Cheney say the vice president will likely lash out at Democratic nominee John Kerry.
In Israel, the death toll in yesterday’s twin suicide bus bombings has risen to at least 14. Dozens were injured. Following the attack Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced Israel would accelerate construction on a 400-mile separation wall being built in the West Bank. Sharon’s office said “We will build the fence where it provides the best protection, not where the world decides.” The United Nations and the International Criminal Court have both determined the wall to be illegal under international law.
In Moscow, 10 people have died in a suicide bomb attack on a city subway station. Meanwhile in Southern Russian gunmen have taken at least 400 hostages including 200 students at a school.
The International Atomic Energy Agency is preparing to release a report that states U.N. inspectors have not uncovered definitive evidence that Iran has a secret nuclear weapons program. This according to a report in the Washington Post based on interviews with diplomats who have seen the study. The Bush administration has claimed that Iran is three to five years away from building a nuclear bomb. In June the US shared intelligence tips with the UN atomic agency but the intelligence did not lead to any discoveries.
The Washington Post reports the Justice Department will ask a federal judge in Detroit to dismiss the convictions of three men in a high-profile terrorism case last year in part because federal prosecutors failed to share potentially exculpatory evidence with the defense.
And a new Zogby poll shows many New Yorkers still question whether the U.S. government knew in advance of the Sept. 11 attacks. According to the poll, 49 percent of city residents said some leaders “knew in advance that attacks were planned on or around September 11, 2001, and that they consciously failed to act.” The poll was commissioned by the group 911truth.org