Hell to the Chief
Written by Bwog Staff
In case you hadn’t heard, PrezBush made a surprise visit to a charter school in Harlem today, and Bwog biked up to 144th and Adam Clayton to see what kind of welcome residents and activists had in store for him. Despite the massive security, which included snipers on every building, streets completely blocked off within a three-block radius, cadres of NYPD on every corner, dozens of motorcycles, secret service hiding in dump trucks, and metal fences lining every street, a sizable number of dissidents managed to show up and locals congregated to express their opinions and see why their neighborhood was shut down for the day.
The most striking part about the event was the effectiveness of the metal fences, copious police presence, and constantly changing rules for where one could walk. Any chance of picketing for more than a couple of minutes was precluded by the sheer overwhelming power of the NYPD and their vehicles. Nevertheless, residents shouted “GO HOME! WE DON’T WANT YOU HERE!” to Bush’s motorcade, while a band of about 30 picketers, largely Columbia students, led chants of “Bush out of Harlem, US out of Iraq!” and other anti-war slogans, as they were followed by a few dozen police on the sidewalk and a rolling van of at least eleven officers. Said one Columbia protester, “This is a traveling ‘free speech zone,'” mocking the fact that they couldn’t remain stationary. Others were more confrontational, yelling at the NYPD, “These are our rights being violated!” The NYPD circled the group but they stayed silent.