As President Bush travels to states Republicans view as key in this fall’s elections, raising millions for Republican candidates and appearing at carefully stage-managed events, often at taxpayer expense, he is increasingly being met by protests.

On Aug. 22, echoing the 1999 Seattle protests which brought together environmental, labor and social justice activists, several thousand demonstrators turned out for Bush’s arrival in Portland, Ore., to protest his plan to attack Iraq and his anti-environmental and anti-labor policies.

Environmental, labor, peace and community groups participated in the protest, including the Alliance for Sustainable Jobs and the Environment, Cascadia Forest Alliance, Pacific Green Party, Jobs with Justice, several International Longshore and Warehouse Union locals, and other groups.

As in Seattle, the breadth and content of the demonstration was overshadowed in the corporate media by coverage of police confrontations with participants. A half block from the hotel where Bush was staying, protesters were blocked by police in full riot gear. The police declared a state of emergency, and threatened to arrest anyone who did not disperse. Very few people heard these announcements and police did not give the crowd time to comply.

As some demonstrators shouted “peaceful protest,” the police shot rubber bullets and fired pepper spray at the crowd and struck some people with batons. Children were among the victims of chemical attacks, including a 10-month-old baby. The police have been criticized for over reacting and excessive use of force.

Many of the protesters criticized a pro-timber-industry logging measure proposed by Bush earlier the same day. Bush’s proposal would make it easier for timber companies to cut big trees in backwoods areas of national forests, in the name of fire prevention.

“My concern is that he has absolutely no morals about protecting our environment,” said Joanne Marron, a teacher with a master’s degree in ecology.

Marron said Bush and other Republicans try to portray conservation groups as unpatriotic. “I’m really tired of environmentalists being tagged as somehow anti-American. Environmentalists are true Americans,” she said.

“The plan will suspend all environmental laws and public involvement just to push more road-building and logging on public lands,” said Carrie Taylor, a Cascadia Forest Alliance volunteer.

Demonstrator Hope Marston said she was there to protest Bush’s “rattling his saber about warring on Iraq, trashing our Bill of Rights with the USA PATRIOT Act and policies like military tribunals, holding prisoners of war at Guantanamo Bay indefinitely by calling them enemy combatants.”

In Stockton, Calif., Aug. 23, several hundred protesters chanted “No war with Iraq,” and “Drop Bush not bombs” as Bush spoke at a fund-raiser for scandal-ridden Republican gubernatorial nominee Bill Simon.

On Aug. 24, as Bush appeared at yet another fund-raiser in Los Angeles, more than 500 demonstrators protested his war on terrorism, particularly the bombing in Afghanistan and threatened invasion of Iraq. “We’re here to let Bush know that people all over this nation are against this war,” said University of California at Los Angeles communication studies student Luke Patterson.

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