Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
2004 Republican National Convention protest activity
2004 Republican National Convention protest activity includes the broad range of marches, rallies, performances, demonstrations, exhibits, and acts of civil disobedience in New York City to protest the 2004 Republican National Convention and the nomination of President George W. Bush for the 2004 U.S. presidential election.
Hundreds of groups organized protests, including United for Peace and Justice, a coalition of more than 800 anti-war and social justice groups, and International ANSWER. So far, over 1800 individuals have been arrested by the authorities, a record for a political convention in the U.S.
Friday, August 27
Between 5,000 and 6,000 participants took part in the Critical Mass bicycle ride. The monthly NYC Critical Mass ride sponsored by environmental group Times Up! occurs on the last Friday of each month and usually attracts about 1,500 riders. Police eventually blockaded roads and arrested 264 people in relation to that event. Most of them was charged for disorderly conduct and held in custody for 24 hours. This was the first time the NYPD had made any significant arrests of Critical Mass participants. 
Sunday, August 29
United for Peace and Justice organized the main march of the week, in which protesters marched past Madison Square Garden, the site of the convention. The march included hundreds of separate contingents as well as individual marchers. One group of people carried flag-draped cardboard coffins. Several hundred members of Billionaires for Bush held a mock countermarch. Estimates of crowd size ranged from 120,000 to over 500,000.
Organizers held a pre-march press conference in front of thousands on 7th Avenue. Several people spoke in opposition to the war in Iraq and Bush administration policies including Michael Moore, Jesse Jackson, Congressman Charles Rangel, and a father who had lost his son in Iraq.  The whole event lasted six hours, with the lead contingent finishing the march long before thousands of people could even move from the starting point.  The City had earlier denied the protesters a permit to hold a rally in Central Park following the march, citing concern for the park's grass. The West Side Highway was offered instead, but organizers refused, citing exorbitant costs for the extra sound equipment and problems for the location.  Organizers encouraged people to go to Central Park following the march's conclusion in Union Square. Disturbances were minor. New York Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly reported about 200 arrests with 9 felonies — most of them occurring after the march had concluded.
Despite the enormous size of the event, the march proceeded peacefully and without violence. The only major incident during the march occurred when some individuals of unknown affiliations torched a large dragon float between Madison Square Garden and the Fox News building. The float turned into a huge fireball, and the march was halted until firefighters were able to clear the street of debris.
Monday, August 30
Still We Rise , a coalition of 52 NYC-based community organizations for the poor and people of color marched at noon from Union Square to Madison Square Garden, and held a rally by the Garden. 
At 4 PM, the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign , a national campaign involving over sixty organizations and coordinated by Cheri Honkala of the Kensington Welfare Rights Union held a rally at by the United Nations on the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza . Along with many homeless and poor people have been marching with the PPEHRC through New Jersey and living in a "mobile Bushville " (which settled in Brooklyn a week before the Convention), thousands thronged the streets despite having been denied a permit and marched down Second Avenue and up Eighth Avenue to Madison Square Garden, the police having decided not to stop the protesters. A few troublemakers apparently acting alone disrupted the march towards the end by tearing open police barricades, with one person attacking a plainclothes police detective who had driven his scooter into the crowd, knocking him unconscious. Police made several arrests and deployed tear gas.
Tuesday, August 31
Members of CODEPINK and others gathered in front of Fox News Channel's headquarters in New York City and held a "Fox News Shut-Up-A-Thon." About 1,000 people protested the network complaining about lack of balance and deriding it as a propaganda arm of the Republican Party. 
Protest from within the Convention
Throughout the convention, there were several protestors who were able to sneak into Madison Square Garden and disrupt the speakers at the podium. Some even described it as surprisingly easy.
Eleven AIDS activists from ACT UP infiltrated the Republican Youth Convention .  One female protester holding a sign was knocked down and repeatedly kicked while on the ground by male youth at the convention, as Secret Service agents arrived to arrest the protesters. This episode was caught on camera and aired in the news. The youth, who became known as the "RNC Kicker," was not apprehended, but the video and his image was widely circulated on the Internet, leading to his identification as Scott Robinson , a vocal College Republican and junior at Wharton. Initially evasive, Robinson later denied these charges and stated that he was elsewhere in the city with his fraternity brothers—an alibi they refused to confirm. So far no public action has been taken against Robinson.
Police tactics and Pier 57 : Guantanamo on the Hudson
Concerns have been raised about police tactics in arresting nonviolent protestors with many apparently innocent people being swept up in mass arrests. 
Guantanamo on the Hudson was a term coined during the Republican National Convention by a lawyer who, amongst 1000 other people, was detained in a facility by the New York City Police, in such conditions that he said that the city had created its "own little Guantanamo on the Hudson" (an allusion to the tortures reported in prisoners camps in Guantanamo).
The City police reportedly closed a whole street where some protesters were marching, and arrested protesters and bystanders alike. People were required to show identification cards or face arrest; the arrested people were not immediately informed of charges against them.
The facility was a former bus garage on Pier 57 on the Hudson River in Manhattan, a three-story, block-long pier that has been converted into a temporary holding facility, though unfit for detention of prisoners. Arrested protestors have complained about extremely poor conditions describing it as overcrowded, dirty, and contaminated with oil and asbestos. People reported having suffered from smell, bad ventilation, and even chemical burns and rashes . Deputy Police Commissioner Paul J. Browne denied the accusations, pointing to the fact hat ventilations and sanitation had been installed.
Numerous troubling cases were reported, notably :
- a 15-year-old diabetic girl on her way to a movie was arrested
- a former vice president of Morgan Stanley who was riding her bicycle was arrested
- Barbara Friedman, who had encouraged her 16-year-old daughter's participation in a peaceful protest, said she could not find her for two days. "I just see all our civil liberties slipping away," Friedman said. "It's very, very frightening." 
- In that building, there are pens 10-12ft wide ringed by concertina wire and they are putting 30 to 40 people into the pen at a time," Katya Komisaruk, a lawyer from the National Lawyers' Guild, said. She added that she had been barred from meeting detainees.
- Other complaints have included excessively long stays past 24 hours in what are supposed to be mere desk tickets.  For instance, David Duvant, a 23-year-old student from Montreal who got swept up outside the New York Public Library on Tuesday, was released just this morning (September 2nd). He says he spent a total of 57 hours between the pier and Central Booking, during which time he says he was moved 14 times and repeatedly handcuffed and shackled to other protesters as young as 15. His crime: disorderly conduct, a charge that normally warrants a desk appearance ticket. 
The City reportedly refused to release the prisoners until a judge threatened to fine it for every extra hour every prisoner would spend in prison. The victims of the arrests have filled lawsuits against the City of New York.
One of the most proeminent personalities arrested was Eric Corley "Emmanuel Goldstein", an important advocate of public rights and independent medias, and editor of 2600: The Hacker Quarterly . The complete report of 2600 is available at 
Several cases have since gone to court, and it has come out that the charges of resisting arrest in those cases were completely fabricated. Video evidence was shown of defendants complying peacably with police demands. Many of the cases have since been summarily dismissed.
- thememoryhole.org Photographs, videos and testimonies from prisoners.
- 2600.com Photographs, videos and testimonies from prisoners.
- Times Online
- New York Press
- Democracy Now !
- First Amendment Center
The Imagine Festival of Arts, Issues, and Ideas is the primary arts festival.
NYC & Company , New York's tourism board, initiated the Peaceful Political Activists visitor program, which gives protest event information on its website and enables wearers of a "Peaceful Political Activist" button discounts at selected stores and restaurants.
Scenes from the protests and convention are available online at CSPAN.com.
- CounterConvention.org and RNC Not Welcome are the primary online information clearinghouses.
- NYC IndyMedia is the primary protest activity news organization.
- Poor People's Campaign for Economic Human Rights organized the rally and massive peaceful, permitless march on A30.
- Kensington Welfare Rights Union is a Philadelphia-based group that campaigns for poor people's rights. They organized a successful, unpermitted march on the 2000 RNC in Philadelphia and were heavily involved in 2004's march.
- Still We Rise is the website for the noon A30 march for NYC-based community groups.
- Peaceful Political Activists visitor program
- The Battle for New York: A Roundup of the RNC Protests Plans
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