President George Bush was greeted by 250 militant protestors on Oct. 12 in Chicago. Bush was speaking at a $500 a plate fundraiser for the Illinois Republican Party at the Chicago Hilton and Towers. Bush and speaker of the house, Dennis Hastert, were confronted by people carrying signs demanding an end to the occupation of Iraq.
Protestors chanted, "He’s racist, sexist, anti-gay, George Bush, go away" and "George Bush, war criminal" for two hours in very cold weather. Chants also rang out demanding money for education, schools, health care and jobs instead of war. The multinational crowd also chanted, "Women, students and immigrants, yes; Bush, no."
ANSWER Chicago carried placards in the protest that read, "U.S. Hands off Korea!"
An anti-war bus decked with slogans demanding, "Bring the Troops Home Now" and an end to threats against Iran circled in front of the hotel during the protest. The bus obviously irritated the Chicago Police Department. Earlier the CPD threatened passing vehicles with moving violations for honking their horns in approval of the demonstrators. Yet throughout the protest, cars, taxis and buses honked in support.
At 6:30 p.m. Bush and a caravan of about 30 vehicles sped away from the hotel. His getaway route was shut down to traffic and heavily guarded by police.
After Bush’s departure, the crowd vowed to remain strong and united in their opposition to the war and racism. At the end of the protest, people chanted victoriously, "Bush says 'get back,' we say 'FIGHT BACK!'"
The protest was co-sponsored by ANSWER Chicago, Chicago Area Codepink, Chicago Coalition Against War and Racism, Chicagoans against War and Injustice, Gay Liberation Network, HammerHard MediaWorks, International Socialist Organization, International Solidarity Movement-Chicago Chapter, Evanston Neighbors for Peace, Nicaragua Solidarity Committee, North Shore Coalition for Peace and Justice, Northwest Suburban NOW, Party for Socialism and Liberation and Peace Pledge Chicago.