About 100 people gathered to protest the groundbreaking of the George Bush Library on the Southern Methodist University campus this morning.
Members of the LGBT community were among the organizers. Other protesters came to Dallas from around the country.
Among the protesters was Cindy Sheehan, who became the face of the anti-war movement after the death of her son Casey in Iraq in 2004.
A march began at about 9:30 a.m. at Mockingbird Station and ended on the SMU campus outside Ford Stadium near Mockingbird Lane and Airline Drive. Many were dressed in black with white masks representing soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan during the Bush administration.
Five different police forces kept protesters and counter-protesters apart. The march began in Dallas, crossed into Highland Park and ended on campus in University Park. SMU campus police also were on hand.
The groundbreaking was held several blocks away and protesters were not allowed anywhere near the dignitaries, who included the Bushes and Cheneys. Sheriff’s department officers guarded that ceremony in riot gear with shields and batons. Only pre-approved guests and media were allowed near the library site.
However, pro-Bush counter-protesters were allowed to mingle on the outskirts of the anti-Bush crowd.
Local speakers were mostly from the LGBT community.
Aaron Rathbun dressed in a graduation cap and gown and held a sign on stage that read, “Bush failed us.”
Radio host and Queer LiberAction activist Rick Vanderslice led some of the chanting and was one of the speakers. He echoed the event’s “Arrest Bush” theme.
Vanderslice said the policy institute is being built to justify the policies of the Bush administration. He said this can’t be allowed to happen and called them war criminals who should be arrested and brought to justice.
“We can get them,” he said.
“Millions of lives have been ruined because of irresponsible foreign policy,” said Charles Grand, a speaker from the Socialist Workers Party.
Grand said he was happy with the number of people attending since the protest took place during a workday.
Sheehan explained why she had traveled to Dallas from her home in California for the event.
“You can’t put a bloom on that lily,” she said. “He wasn’t a good person. He wasn’t a good president. We can’t let him rewrite history.”
Other speakers included Time magazine 2002 person of the year Colleen Rowley, Code Pink founder Medea Benjamin and Col. Ann Wright, who spent 29 years in the military followed by 16 years as a diplomat and resigned her post to protest Bush administration policy.
State Rep. Lon Burnham from Tarrant County was scheduled to speak but was held up by an airline delay.
The museum and library will open in 2013. The policy center is already operating in offices in Preston Center.
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