Angry voices echoed through downtown Philadelphia streets and at over 234 places nationwide Oct. 5 as protestors demanded removal of President George W. Bush from office.
World Can’t Wait, a group opposing the Bush administration, organized a protest at the Municipal Building Plaza at 15th and John F. Kennedy Boulevard to bring a halt to what it believes is the disastrous course that Bush has led the country along.
Including immigration laws, Abu Ghraib torture, Hurricane Katrina, no subject was taboo at WCW’s demonstrations. Frank Rochencko, organizer for Philadelphia WCW, argued that the Bush administration misled the public about such issues and continues to keep the public in the dark.
“People need to be out here protesting,” Rochencko said. “Or else you’re accepting [that] your government lies to you and through the process of lies, distortion and manipulation, [it] is causing tremendous human casualty here and all around the world.”
Arielle Emmett, a journalism professor at Temple, spoke at the demonstration. She argued that public awareness is low.
“I think Americans are very busy, spoiled, complacent …” Emmett said. “It’s going to take a lot of public journalism, civic journalism, blogging, podcasting telling people to wake up.”
WCW supporters say human casualties, like those sustained in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, were caused by the governmental negligence of the Bush administration.
“You have to be without a heart to agree with torture, endless war and a society that leaves hundreds of thousands of people stranded,” said Steven Young, a speaker at the protest who said he believes President Bush’s greed and arrogance blinded him from aggressively sending aid to Katrina.
Speakers and supporters at the protest held posters and banners as they led a two-hour march around Center City streets, inviting anyone who disagreed with the Bush White House to join their efforts.
Students attending classes at Temple’s Center City Campus near City Hall passed the march on their way to class. Many said they didn’t know the purpose of the protest at first, but some watched or joined the march after hearing WCW’s message.
Kalima Thomas, a photo journalism major, thought WCW’s protest was a good alternative to mainstream media.
“I don’t think the media really challenges Bush’s position,” Thomas said. Demonstrations like this one are a great way for the public to start fighting back and spread awareness.”
Another student, George Heckert, also spotted the march. Heckert is a member of Democracy Matters, a national group arguing for campaign finance reform.
“It’s always going to be a tendency for Americans to slack off and to trust our leaders because that’s what we’re taught to do,” Heckert said.
Courtney Makupson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.