Published on Thursday, January 20, 2005 by the Associated Press
Protesters Target Bush's Inauguration
by Jeannine Aversa
WASHINGTON - Anti-war protesters, including some who carried coffin-like cardboard boxes to signify the deaths of U.S. troops in Iraq , descended on the capital Thursday. Some of their chants could be heard as President Bush delivered his inaugural address.
The chants came toward the end of Bush's speech, and the president continued his address without interruption or any sign that he heard them.
On Capitol Hill, some protesters were briefly detained by police, and then released after Bush finished speaking, said Andrea Buffa, spokeswoman for CodePink: Women for Peace, a social justice peace movement.
CodePink member Jodie Evans said she and other protesters got tickets to the ceremony from members of Congress representing New York and California.
Michael Lauer, a Capitol Police spokesman, said police had arrested five people for protesting during Bush's inaugural speech. He did not know whether they were men or women, or whether they were the people caught on television trying to unfurl a protest banner.
Earlier in the day, about 500 people rallied in a park several miles from the Capitol.
"Worst President Ever" and "Four more years: God HELP America" were on some of the signs. Protesters covered hundreds of cardboard boxes with black cloth and American flags to symbolize U.S. troops and others killed in Iraq.
"It's important to show that when Bush's second inauguration goes into the record books, there was healthy dissent," said Jared Maslin, 19 of Hanover, N.H.
Aidan Delgado, 23, of Sarasota, Fla., returned to the United States last April after his military service. He said he was a mechanic at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, which gained notoriety as a place of torture during Saddam Hussein's rule and was the scene of alleged prisoner abuse by U.S. troops.
"What I experienced in Iraq fills me with remorse," Delgado told the crowd of protesters. "If we are going to preserve our nation at all, we need to criticize what we did wrong and we have to criticize ourselves."
Several police cars lined the perimeter of the park, but the event remained mostly peaceful.
At one demonstration, supporters of the president engaged in a shouting and shoving match with some opponents of the war.
An anti-war group called the Rhythm Workers Union banged on steel drums and danced in mud-caked boots.
Elsewhere in the city, more than 300 anti-war protesters — organized by CodePink — sported beauty pageant style banners with "resist!" scrawled in black.
"We're against the war mostly," said Shannon Fell, 22, of Detroit, who wore a bright pink wig and feather boa.
Some protesters carried signs advocating abortion rights. Others urged people to donate money to tsunami relief efforts. Some took issue with Bush's environmental and economic policies.
Associated Press writers Genaro Armas and Libby Quaid contributed to this report.
© 2005 The Associated Press