Knoxville activists protest inauguration, Bush policies

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KNOXVILLE – Protesters gathered in front of the John J. Duncan Federal Building on Locust Street in downtown Knoxville to protest the inauguration of George Bush as President of the United States for a second term.

The group began gathering around noon, January 20th, and swelled to around 40 or 50 activists as the hour progressed. Despite relatively cold temperatures, the happy group remained on site until 1:00 p.m. when the action was schedule to end. No substantially negative incidents of any kind were observed or reported.

Signs and banners included anti-war and anti-racism messages and affirmative messages regarding the need for GLBT rights, a living wage, health care, Iraqi and American war casualties, and other human rights issues. Environmentalists protested the Bush administrations policies with a sign reading, “More trees, less Bush.” Yet another attempt at humor was evident in one protester’s “Ignoregurate Bush.”

Organized by the Knoxville faction of the Tennessee Guerilla Women, the group represented a wide variety of activist causes with a presence in Knoxville. Included were the Highlander Center in New Market, the Knoxville Green Party, the Democratic Women’s Club, the Tennessee Equality Project, the Human Rights Campaign, Katuah Earth First, the Progressive Students Alliance from the University of Tennessee, involve Knoxville, the Knox County Democratic Party, and others along with individuals and couples who wanted to make their voice heard.

Police approached protest organizer, Sharon Lundin, early in the action to insure that she knew the “rules” regarding keeping the sidewalk passable and instruction to stay off the steps of the Federal Building. Officers were present as a matter of course due to precautionary heightened security at the location. A bomb-sniffing dog was also present.

Motorists frequently honked in support of the protesters while a few hurled insults and support for the President.

Press coverage included the local ABC affiliate station and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

Tennessee Guerilla Women is a grassroots progressive organization that works to elevate the status of Tennessee women by challenging the radical right and by promoting women’s political participation – as activists, voters, candidates, and policy makers. Find them online at www.tnguerillawomen.org.