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April 18, 2006 - Spokesman-Review (WA)

Activists Also Get A Hearing Downtown

By Jody Lawrence-Turner, Staff writer

Return to Drug War News: Don't Miss Archive

(Note: The entire home office staff of the November Coalition, all dressed as prisoners, joined with hundreds of other protesters outside the Davenport Hotel during VP Cheney's visit. Cheney was in town for a fund-raiser for fellow Republican and war hawk Mike McGavick.)

While supporters greeted Vice President Dick Cheney inside the Davenport Hotel on Monday afternoon, hundreds of protesters gathered outside.

Their signs, scrawled and printed on poster board, cloth and college-ruled notebook paper, covered the gamut.

"We Believe in Telling the Truth in this Washington," "Got Integrity?" "Impeach, Convict, Imprison," "No Blood for Oil," "Who Would Jesus Bomb?" "Health care, not Warfare" and "Peace Not War" were just a few of the messages displayed by the nearly 300 protesters.

The most common theme was anti-war.

"If we can get diplomacy, we can solve everything else," said Avery Rendon, one of about 100 members of the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane at the protest. "Bring them home," Rendon shouted.

Protesters stood shoulder-to-shoulder on all four corners of Sprague and Lincoln while, near the front doors of the hotel, about 23 people held up signs supporting GOP Senate candidate Mike McGavick. Patrons inside the Davenport peered from second-story windows as the crowd chanted: "Bush and Cheney got to go, hey, hey, go home."

While some protesters' signs crossed the line between statement and trash-talk, the crowd remained well-behaved.

Spokane Valley resident Mary Colby brought her sons to the protest. With hand-painted T-shirts that read "End the War" and sporting hunter-orange pants, Simon and Colin Colby, twin 2-year-olds, watched from their stroller.

Hunter orange was a popular color outside the Davenport. People wore orange hats, shirts, and vests to mock Cheney's accidental shooting of a hunting companion.

"This is a pretty good turnout for Spokane given the conservative district," said Emily Walters, co-president of Gonzaga University's young Democrats club. Walters said she was there to show her party's objection to the use of taxpayers' money on a campaign fundraiser for McGavick.

Two students from North Idaho College stood outside the Davenport to protest Cheney "using his position of power as a position of profit," said 23-year-old Ryan Robinson.

He and a fellow student, 20-year-old Kathleen Kelley, weren't surprised to see the large crowd. "Even Republicans are mad," Kelley said.

Earlier Monday in Everett, Cheney was greeted by dozens of demonstrators, some waving flags in support, others carrying "Impeach Bush" signs.

"It's an unjust, unnecessary war. People are dying for no reason," said Albert Penta, a retired postal worker from Monroe, Wash. "It had nothing to do with 9/11 or protecting America. It's folly of the worst kind."

Vietnam veteran John McKee was there to show support.

"He's second in charge of the military," said McKee, who lives in Lynnwood, Wash. "I want the troops in the field to know that I'm here, I believe in them, the mission, and I believe in the president."

As Cheney's Spokane visit neared its end, protesters shifted from Lincoln and Sprague to Post and First Avenue, in hopes of making their presence more visible to the vice president during his departure.

"I don't care if I see him," said Scott Weston of Hauser Lake, Idaho. "I just want him to know we're here."

The crowd booed when the motorcade flipped a U-turn and avoided them altogether.

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