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Protesters gather during president's Santa Clara visit

Protesters gather during president's Santa Clara visit

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/news/archive/2003/05/02/state1552EDT0123.DTL

by MAY WONG, Associated Press Writer
Friday, May 2, 2003

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) -- About 1,000 anti-war protesters tried to greet President Bush for his brief Friday stop here -- but his motorcade bypassed their gathering on its way to the defense contractor where he delivered a speech on the economy.

About 150 police officers in riot gear and on horseback watched the crowd, which was loud but generally peaceful. Two protesters were arrested, one for allegedly hitting a police horse with a sign.

Tensions sometimes ran high as several dozen Bush supporters stood -- vastly outnumbered -- by the anti-war protesters.

Among those on hand waving large American flags and red-white-and-blue balloons was Alice Hoglan, of Redwood Estates. Her son, Mark Bingham, was among the 40 people who died on Sept. 11, 2001 when Flight 93 crashed in a Pennsylvania field.

"We're happy to stand here with them even though we have different political views," Hoglan said of the president's critics.

Protesters came from throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, considered the epicenter of the West Coast's anti-war movement. They banged drums, chanted, and even did yoga to state their opposition to the Iraq war. Some wore masks of Bush and other top defense officials to ridicule the administration's policies.

One waved a sign that read "Unemployment up, Stock down, Surplus gone, Deficit growing, Bush out 2004." Many signs decried Bush as a "war criminal."

Eighty-year-old Bernice Belton, of Santa Cruz, held a cane as she marched with the group despite her arthritis pain. A peace activist also during the Vietnam War, she said, "I've never been so personally and politically frightened as I am now. There are totalitarian aspects of this administration that I've never seen before."

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