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Inside Politics

Protesters gather for second peaceful day


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New York police officers arrest a protester during a march against the Republican convention Monday.
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- New Yorkers survived a second day of peaceful anti-Bush marches Monday.

By midafternoon, when the opening session of the Republican National Convention adjourned, demonstrators, many carrying signs, stretched down Eighth Avenue for nearly two blocks, in an event called "Still We Rise."

"I'm here today saying 'no' to the Bush agenda," said Kristen Greene, a teacher from Harlem and self-described socialist. "I think the war is totally wrong, and I think we should go home. And I think we need a total change in our society."

In addition to protests against the war in Iraq, there were protests to bring attention to issues such as same-sex marriage, immigration, the environment and AIDS.

Slogans on signs included, "There's a Terrorist Behind Every Bush," "Amend Marriage, Not The Constitution" and "Money for Jobs, Not for War."

Although the groups were diverse, there was one common theme. The mood was overwhelmingly anti-Bush.

Luke Dutch, who calls himself an anarchist, said he came out "to protest Bush and the whole system."

"I can't speak for the whole band but, personally, I believe that Kerry and Bush are pretty much same demon, different mask," he said. "They both are funded by the same people. I mean, Kerry's going to keep the troops in Iraq."

Several protesters gathered peacefully for a rally in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza -- a park across the street from the United Nations.

Chanting "Hey, hey, ho, ho, poverty has got to go," members of Poor People's Economic Human Rights -- a large coalition of community based organizations -- were initially denied a permit to march, but brokered a deal with police that allowed them to move south along Second Avenue to a position near the Republican convention.

At one point, the group stretched four blocks along Second Avenue.

"We're not going to let our children go homeless and hungry. Please help us, Mr. Bush," said Marian Kramer from the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization.

Ajamu Baraka, a representative with the Human Rights Network in Atlanta, said, "We're here to say that housing is a human right. ... We have a right to health care. We have a right to education."

"We will fight for economic human rights and we will not be silent," added Ethel Long-Scott with the Women's Economic Agenda Project.

CNN's Richard Shumate and George Lerner contributed to this report.


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