News: Showing Bush the Highway

President ducks anti-war protesters

Jymi Bolden

Anti-war protesters had hoped Bush's motorcade would pass by.

Anti-war demonstrators rallied Sept. 30 at the Montgomery Road exit from Interstate 71 in Kenwood, anticipating President Bush's motorcade.

Bush attended a $2,000 per plate campaign fundraiser at Carl Lindner III's estate in Indian Hill.

"I think it's important to show President Bush when he visits that people aren't going to sit by idly, that there are people against his policies," said demonstrator Darek Ball.

The rally's numbers fluctuated throughout the demonstration, but by 6 p.m. more than 120 protesters lined the overpass and nearby green space. Protesters chanted, "Drop Bush, not bombs" and "Hey Bush, we know you! Your daddy was a killer, too," while brandishing such signs as, Bush: Making the World Safe for Terrorism."

Rush-hour traffic observed a vibrant affair. Students Against War of Walnut Hills High School, members of the University of Cincinnati Anti-War Coalition and the local magazine The Rag molded into a human peace sign on the grass and biked and romped around the hillside to bolster the demonstrators' spirits.

"I think these are courageous young heroes who are standing up for the rights this country was founded on," said Cincinnati City Council candidate Brian Garry. "It's great to see these new faces out here."

Protesters fashioned two nets with mélanges of colorful garment strips. Inscriptions on the garments conveyed opinions about Bush's foreign and domestic policies. After the rally, participants planned to send the nets to officials in Washington, D.C. Posters and flags pegged across the grass and above the highway depicted peace symbols, blood pools and oil drills.

At one point a Sycamore Township ambulance driver announced that Bush's motorcade had taken the Kenwood Road exit — dodging the demonstration — and everyone could leave. But the demonstrators waved off that notion and continued to express their dissent to drivers in the congested traffic.

"Of course Bush got off before us," said Troy Evans. "He doesn't want to see people actually against his views."

Motorists on the overpass jeered, cheered and honked at the demonstrators throughout the afternoon. Justin Boles, a student at Scarlet Oaks Career Development Campus, flagged down drivers with a U.S. flag held upside down.

"The flag says, 'No More Lies,' but I feel it has more of a point to it if it's held upside down, saying we need help," he said.

One motorist cruised by Boles and barked, "If you don't like President Bush, why don't you leave this country?" A heated argument ensued between the two, but was abruptly stopped by a Hamilton County Sheriff's deputy. The deputy detained Boles in a nearby gas station about 20 minutes later, then released him at the end of the demonstration.

"I think we're more patriotic than these people flicking us off and causing trouble," Boles said. "People look at protesters and say they're trying to tear things down. We're not trying to tear anything down, we're voicing our opinion to make the system work."

The protesters remained until 7 p.m., when a deputy ordered the crowd to disperse.

"An event like this is a great unifier," said protester Barbara Wolfe. ©

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