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. Over 1800 individuals were arrested by the authorities, a record for a political convention in the U.S. However 90% of those charges were eventually dropped.
|2004 Republican National Convention protest activity|
|Part of the United States presidential election, 2004 and the Opposition to the Iraq War|
Protesters gather in Union Square before the march
|Caused by||Nomination of George W. Bush|
Four young professionals and students, who called themselves Operation Sybil, hung a banner over the front of the Plaza Hotel. Two of them rappelled down the front of the hotel, after which they were able to hang the banner more than a dozen stories above the ground. The banner, which measured 60 feet (18 m) wide and roughly three stories high, said "Truth," with an arrow pointing in one direction (toward Central Park, where the United for Peace March was supposed to take place) and "Bush," with an arrow pointing the other direction (toward Madison Square Garden, the site of the convention). The four climbers were quickly arrested and the banner was removed by the police. One police officer was injured in the process when he stepped on a skylight and it broke. As a result of the officer's injury, the climbers were charged with assault of a police officer along with their other charges.
Twelve AIDS activists from the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) staged a naked protest in front of Madison Square Garden, demanding debt cancellation for poor countries. They took their clothes off in the crosswalk, stopping traffic, as they joined hands and began chanting "Bush, Stop AIDS. Drop the Debt Now!" "Drop the Debt" and "Stop AIDS" were stenciled in black paint on their chests and backs. Their intent was to tell "the naked truth" about Bush's global AIDS policies – that they are inadequate, and that debt cancellation must be a top priority.
Seven of the protesters were completely naked, three were semi-clothed, and two others, who stood off to the side, were fully clothed, and held a large banner that read "W: Drop the Debt. Stop AIDS." The two clothed activists climbed on top of a nearby trailer to make the banner more visible. They were later arrested and faced several charges, including endangerment of a police officer, which was a result of the fact that officers had to climb on top of the trailer, which was a generator, in order to arrest them.
Although there were several times as many police officers as there were protesters on the scene, it was seventeen minutes before the activists were arrested. They were represented by Ron Kuby, and all of the charges were later dropped. A few protesters who were semi-clothed were not arrested, and faced no charges.
Between 5,000 and 6,000 participants took part in the Critical Mass bicycle ride. The monthly NYC Critical Mass ride promoted by the environmental group Time's Up! occurs on the last Friday of each month and prior to this ride had usually attracted about 1,500 riders. Police eventually blockaded roads and arrested 264 people in relation to that event. Most of them were charged with disorderly conduct and held in custody for up to 72 hours. This was the first time the NYPD had made any significant arrests of Critical Mass participants in New York City.
United for Peace and Justice organized the main march of the week, one of the largest protests in U.S. history, 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 Thousand Coffins, a nationwide group of citizens, veterans and clergy, held a procession of one thousand full-scale flag-draped coffins commemorating the fallen troops. Several hundred members of Billionaires for Bush held a mock countermarch. Estimates of crowd size ranged from 120,000 (unnamed police spokesman) to over 500,000 (organizers, second unnamed police source). In March, 2007 NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne stated about the RNC protests: "You certainly had 800,000 on August 29."
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 government, under Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg, 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, as New York Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly reported about 200 arrests with 9 felonies, most of them occurring after the march had concluded. Incidentally, this was also the day when the Protest Warrior and Communists for Kerry counter-protest groups held their main counter-demonstrations in support of Bush and the RNC.
For the most part, 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. Later, there was a minor scuffle as some individuals tried to take some of the Protest Warriors' signs. There were isolated incidents of violent attacks against delegates according to Randal C. Archibold, writer from the New York Times. In his article, "Protesters' Encounters With Delegates on the Town Turn Ugly," he discussed events that occurred in around the theater district, including one incident outside "The Lion King" on 42nd Street, in which a delegate is punched in the face by a protester running by.
At 4 PM, the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign, a national campaign involving over sixty organizations, held a rally by the United Nations on the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza. Along with many homeless and poor people who 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 (see note below), knocking him unconscious. Police made several arrests and deployed tear gas.
There is considerable dispute involving this incident, as many eyewitnesses said they had no idea this was a policeman, who intentionally rammed his motorcycle straight into a dense crowd, hitting and injuring people, which started the altercation. One source said: "The divide and arrest tactics used by the police in the march have been seen in the past several days in New York here, and as have the use of undercover officers, mopeds and motorcycles." Another source stated: "Eyewitness reports confirmed that an undercover police officer in a scooter rammed his way into the throngs of protesters, driving as fast as 20 miles an hour, as the police were splitting the crowd, before being knocked off and beaten by an angry demonstrator. 'What kind of person would ram into dozens of people in a scooter with a line of police behind him?' asked protester Gonzalo Hereda afterwards in disbelief."
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.
Most of the protesters from the War Resisters League didn't get very far from the World Trade Center on their 3-mile procession to the RNC convention at Madison Square Garden. They crossed one block and 227 of them were instantly surrounded by police and arrested. The several hundred remaining in the WRL contingent proceeded up a different route and got closer to the convention, and did a "die-in" in the street where 54 more were arrested.
Throughout the convention, there were several protesters who were able to sneak into Madison Square Garden and disrupt the speakers at the podium. Some even described it as surprisingly easy. Anti-war activists from CODEPINK disrupted primetime addresses three nights in a row and twice during George W. Bush's acceptance speech. The father of one of the first U.S. servicemen killed in Iraq was ejected after holding up a sign that read "Bush Lied. My Son Died."
Eleven AIDS activists from ACT UP also infiltrated the convention center during the Republican Youth Convention, chanting anti-Bush slogans and disrupting the event. One female protester holding a sign was subdued by security, and alleged that she was kicked by a member of the Young Republicans while she was on the ground. Video of this event was shot by a local news station, but it proved to be inconclusive, because while it showed the Republican making kicking motions, it didn't show that any contact was made. News of the alleged attack spread through the blogosphere, leading a website to identify a person whom they believed was the alleged attacker. The female protester who was kicked then came forward and said she would consider pressing charges; however, she later decided that it was more worthwhile to expend her energy fighting AIDS. The identity of the alleged attacker has not been conclusively confirmed. The eleven ACT UP protesters were charged with disorderly conduct, 2nd and 3rd degree assault, and inciting a riot (1 violation, 1 misdemeanor, and 2 felonies), although all of the charges were dropped. A twelfth individual, not associated with ACT UP, was also arrested with them for taking pictures of the action.
Concerns have been raised about police tactics in arresting nonviolent protesters with many apparently innocent people being swept up in mass arrests. For instance, a lawyer, along with 1000 other people, was detained in a facility by the New York City Police Department in such conditions that he said that the city had created its "own little Guantanamo on the Hudson", referring to the tortures reported in prisoners camps in Guantanamo. The police closed a street adjoining Union Square where protesters were marching, arresting 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 the then-recently closed Hudson Pier Depot at Pier 57 on the Hudson River, a three-story, block-long pier that has been converted into a temporary prison, though unfit for detention of prisoners. Arrested protesters 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.
In 2014, the city settled the lawsuits. $6.4 million was paid to 430 individual plaintiffs. $6.6 million was paid to settle a class-action lawsuit filed by 1,200 additional people. The legal fees were $5 million. The city did not admit any wrongdoing. One of the plaintiffs, artist Constantina Zavistanos, has incorporated her settlement into the art work "Sweepstakes" where viewers are given a portion of the settlement.
Numerous cases were reported, notably:
The New York Times has also reported on two occasions that the police videotaped and infiltrated protests, as well as acting as agents provocateurs during the protests. In addition, the New York Times reported that prior to the protests, NYPD officers traveled as far away as Europe and spied on people there who planned to protest at the RNC. 
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 filed lawsuits against the City of New York. 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 peaceably with police demands. Many of the cases have since been summarily dismissed. Some of them, as of 2011, however, remain open and are expected to proceed to trial.
The 2004 Republican National Convention, the presidential nominating convention of the Republican Party of the United States, took place from August 30 to September 2, 2004 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. The convention is one of a series of historic quadrennial meetings at which the Republican candidate for President of the United States and party platform are formally adopted. Attendance included 2,509 delegates and 2,344 alternate delegates from the states, territories and the District of Columbia. The convention marked the formal end of the active primary election season.
The theme of the convention was "Fulfilling America's Promise by Building a Safer World and a More Hopeful America." Defining moments of the 2004 Republican National Convention include a featured keynote address by Zell Miller and the confirmation of the nomination of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for reelection. Bush and Cheney faced the Democratic Party's ticket of John Kerry and John Edwards in the 2004 presidential election.2008 Republican National Convention
The United States 2008 Republican National Convention took place at the Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minnesota, from September 1, through September 4, 2008. The first day of the Republican Party's convention fell on Labor Day, the last day of the popular Minnesota State Fair, though because of Hurricane Gustav, this day was mostly a call for action to help victims and formal, required activities; most of the politicking and partying did not start until Tuesday, the second scheduled day.
This was the latest any major party convention has ever been convened, and the first one to take place entirely in September. Traditionally, the party who holds the White House has the opportunity to select the date of its convention second, and normally the challenging party holds their convention in July while the incumbent party holds its convention in August. This year, later dates were chosen for both conventions because the parties wanted to schedule their conventions after the 2008 Summer Olympics ended.
President George W. Bush did not attend the convention (although he did appear by satellite), in order to oversee relief efforts to help citizens recover from Hurricane Gustav. The attending delegates at the convention nominated Senator John McCain from Arizona for President and Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska for Vice President. 1,191 pledged delegates were necessary for candidates to win the respective nominations.Billionaires for Bush
Billionaires for Bush was a culture jamming political street theater organization that satirically purported to support George W. Bush, drawing attention to policies which were perceived to benefit corporations and the super-wealthy. The group would typically dress as parodies of wealthy "establishment" figures in tuxedos while proclaiming slogans such as "Two Million Jobs Lost—It's a Start".
A secret New York City Police Department intelligence report, based on undercover surveillance of the group in 2003 and 2004 in advance of the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City, described the Billionaires as "an activist group forged as a mockery of the current president and political policies".Disarm Bush T-Shirts
Disarm Bush T-Shirts is a for-profit political activism campaign created in 2004 in the run-up to the American Presidential election, in which the incumbent George W. Bush ultimately defeated challenger John Kerry. Disarm Bush effectively mobilized opposition to the Republican incumbent in a number of large metropolitan population centers, in which their guerrilla t-shirt vending methods were most successful. Through 2005, the organization had sold no fewer than 25,000 t-shirts with their universally recognizable anti-Bush logo and registered over 5,000 citizens to vote.Founded by Ysiad Ferreiras in Union Square in lower Manhattan, the group expanded to include hundreds of for-profit activists who spread the group's message at both national political conventions in 2004 and at speeches across the country. The shirts were especially effective in mobilizing political activity on college campuses. Ben Piven became the director of PR, political activism, and national distribution, while Marty Taylor took charge of Disarm Bush's internet campaign.
Eventually popularized by the Roots, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and The Flaming Lips, the Disarm Bush logo became a simple but powerful expression of disapproval of the incumbent's performance in office. The Republican National Convention, which lasted from August 30 to September 2, saw the emergence of hundreds of similar t-shirt campaigns in which vendors attempted to spread their political dissent via the estimated 500,000 marchers who converged upon New York City to protest the presence of Republicans in a largely Democratic Party urban area. The 2004 Republican National Convention protest activity created an unprecedented level of political mobilization and also posed security problems.
Disarm Bush photosList of protests in the United States
This is a list of protests in the United States.Miami model
The Miami model are the tactics employed by coordinated law enforcement agencies during demonstrations in Miami, Florida relating to the negotiations for the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) trade agreement in November 2003. The same tactics were first developed and tested at the 2000 Republican National Convention under the direction of Police Chief John Timoney.
On November 13, 2003, four days before the FTAA, the city passed City of Miami Ordinance 54-6.1, outlawing a broad range of items that could be construed as weapons or devices for disrupting public order, as in a "sleeping dragon" and outlawed any coordinated group of two or more people who are attempting to get public attention and disrupt the normal flow of traffic. In addition, any gathering of 8 or more people lasting more than 30 minutes without a permit would be considered illegal. The ordinance was designed specifically for the FTAA and had a sunset provision built into it.
Miami-Dade State Attorney Kathy Fernandez Rundle responded to allegations of police brutality saying "The police were very professional, very controlled... I think we have a model here for the rest of the world to emulate in the future when these sort of events take place." Further allegations and complaints were met with assurances by authorities that police had acted 'according to plan'. Political activists and academics continue to use the term to refer to a framework of similar tactics used by law enforcement in subsequent events, including trade meetings and political conventions.Stop-and-frisk in New York City
The stop-question-and-frisk program, or stop-and-frisk, in New York City, is a New York City Police Department practice of temporarily detaining, questioning, and at times searching civilians on the street for weapons and other contraband. This is what is known in other places in the United States as the Terry stop. The rules for stop, question, and frisk are found in the state's criminal procedure law section 140.50, and are based on the decision of the US Supreme Court in the case of Terry v. Ohio.
12,404 stops were made in 2016. The stop-and-frisk program has previously taken place on a much wider scale. Between 2003 and 2013, over 100,000 stops were made per year, with 685,724 people being stopped at the height of the program in 2011. The program became the subject of a racial profiling controversy. The vast majority, 90% in 2017, of those stopped were African-American or Latino, most of whom were aged 14–24. Furthermore, 70% of all those stopped were later found to be innocent. The racial disparity persists even after controlling for precinct variability and race-specific estimates of crime participation.TXTMob
TXTmob is a service, similar to electronic mailing lists and predecessor to Twitter, that lets users share mobile phone SMS text messages with both friends and total strangers. Users can sign up to send and receive messages to and from various groups, which are organized around a range of different topics.The Indypendent
The Indypendent is a progressive newspaper based in Brooklyn, New York. It is published monthly, distributed worldwide and is available for free throughout New York City and online. It currently prints 30,000 copies per issue, covering local, national and international news, food, cinema and culture. Reader donations comprise the bulk of The Indypendent's funding.
John Tarleton is The Indypendent's current editor. Additional staff include Peter Rugh, Associate Editor; Frank Reynoso, Illustration Director; Mikael Tarkela, Director of Design; and Elia Gran, Social Media Editor. Ellen Davidson, Alina Mogilyanskaya, Nicholas Powers and Steven Wishnia are contributing editors to the paper.