This is a report from Joanna Bouldin of Penn Action on Monday's protest of President Bush in Bryn Mawr.
A bunch of great pictures are available for viewing here.
afternoon Penn Action learned that President Bush would be attending a state
Republican fundraiser at the home of a wealthy ultra-conservative donor in Bryn
Mawr, a Main Line suburb of Philadelphia. The host, John M. Templeton, is a major funder for the right-wing group
Freedom's Watch. We had
approximately 100 participants, with a great range of people including seniors,
veterans, college & high school students, parents of people killed in Iraq,
and even a few passersby that decided to join in!
The primary location was a major intersection (Morris Ave. and Montgomery Ave.), and all four corners were packed with people and yard signs. "Support the Troops; End the War" and SCHIP related signs were the dominant message, although there was a contingent of Impeach Bush folks there as well.
An activist named Bill K came with a guitar and a PA system, so we had music to get the crowd inspired and Jeff Garis lead everyone in chants:
Ø Fund Healthcare, Not Warfare!
Ø Bush Go Home, Bush Go Home!
Ø Heath care, YES! Warfare, NO!
Ø Support the Troops, End the War!
Smaller contingents of protestors lined a few residential corners very close to the house that Bush was visiting, and there were even protestors on the lawn right next door! (We found out from a police officer that the S.S. called the local police and told them to remove the protestors, but the local police lieutenant replied that they were on private property at the invitation of the owner and that they would not be removing them!
Although Bush's motorcade was able to avoid the larger crowd at the major intersection, they were not able to avoid the folks near the host's home. Penn Action organizer Joanna Bouldin and about 15 protestors were able to see the president, and chanted "Fund Healthcare, Not Warfare" as he drove by. Philip Galluccio, a local Vietnam veteran who vehemently opposes the war, was overjoyed that he was able to get close enough to see the Bush and hold his signs just feet away from his limo. Joanna also reported that Bush leaned forward in the limo, made eye contact with her, and waved.
- In attendance was Michael Berg, the father of Nick Berg, the US contractor beheaded on video in Iraq.
- Prior to Bush's arrival, Joanna and other protestors encountered a woman wearing what appeared to be a catering outfit walking down the empty cordoned off street away from the host's house. As she passed by, she said that she had been hired to work the event but immediately quit when she learned what the fundraiser was for and who the guest of honor was.
- At the site of the main protest, police rather abruptly barricaded the intersection, leaving several motorists stranded. A 20-something couple emerged from the car and asked why the street was closed; when they learned that Bush was in town, they immediately walked over, picked up our signs, and joined the protest.
- The musician who volunteered to perform songs thankfully went beyond the usual catalog of protest songs, including politically-revised versions of Tom Petty's "Don't Come Around Here No More" and Twisted Sister's glam-metal classic "We're Not Gonna Take It Anymore". At one point, an elderly female opera singer (for real) joined him at the microphone, harmonizing on the Twisted Sister song – priceless.