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In Cleveland OH, close to 400 people gathered throughout the day at Willard Park across from the Federal Building. Despite the howling wind, there was a spirit of commitment, determination and passion to drive out the Bush regime. There were scores of youth from over a dozen high schools and colleges in the area and some from as far as 60 miles away. Several high school youth took off from the rally sight and got flyers out to people coming out of the rapid transit station, calling on them to Join Us.
People came from: Case Western Reserve University, Baldwin Wallace College, Cuyahoga Community College, Cleveland State University, Lakeland Community College, Ohio University, Allegheny College, and Western Kentucky University. Youth from area high schools included Brush, Brookside, Shaker, Cleveland Heights, Willoughby South, Bay Village. People came from many areas: Lakewood, Lyndhurst, North Olmsted, Canton, Akron, Milan, Sheffield Lake, Cuyahoga Falls, Elyria, Kent, and more.
For many people, it was their first protest.
There were speakers, music, poetry and huge banners and signs in the park and along a major intersection for hundreds to see and some to stop and join the event. One speaker, from the immigrant support network, wore an orange jumpsuit to symbolize the torture and detentions being done “in our names.” The poets were very powerful, giving a heart, urgency and lots of content to the day. There was an open mic, where people of all ages, nationalities and viewpoints, spoke to why this regime must be driven out.
For example: A high school student gave a very poignant and powerful short speech saying he did not want his daughter (15 years from now) asking him why is torture legal or his sone asking why he has to go to fight in iran. How bush is always invoking the bible, he asked how much longer till gays are being murdered and black people are slaves again, because that is in the bible too.
A 6th grader said: I came here because it’s my responsibility as an American to drive out this so-called president. He’s not a president, he is a dictator, and I am tired of it. I am tired of the lies, I’m tired of the regime, I’m tired of the oppression, and I want it gone.
Then at 4pm a few hundred poured into the street for the march, chanting “Join us, join us, The World Cant Wait, Drive Out the Bush Regime” and “Torture, Spies Bring it to a Halt.” There were lots of signs and banners, including signs carried by activists against police brutality saying “Homeland Security = More Stolen Lives”. A car full of Black women joined the end of the march and followed the whole way, behind a woman on a motorcycle. There was high energy, loud chanting, pulling banners through lots of wind and then getting in front of Federal Building where yellow crime tape was pulled in front of the building. The crowd yelled and chanted and then laid down in the street for a die in.