Thursday, May 24, 2007

On the occasion of President Bush’s commencement speech at the United States Coast Guard Academy on Wednesday, hundreds of protesters gathered in New London, Connecticut.

The peaceful demonstration lasted from approximately 7:00 a.m. to noon. Most protesters, such as the large contingent from the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition, were there to push for an immediate end to the Iraq War. Others, including a number of robed professors from nearby universities, carried signs focused on the Bush Administration‘s surveillance programs and science and environmental policies.

Across the street from the main group, a smaller number of counter-protesters voiced support for the war and denounced the protesters’ for what they considered lack of support for the troops.

Throughout the demonstrations at the corners of Mohegan Avenue and Williams Street, protesters and counter-protesters yelled at each other, separated by police and K-9 units. The protesters had a roster of speakers and a central loudspeaker system, while several counter-protesters had hand-held loudspeakers and bullhorns.

The crowd caught a brief glimpse of President Bush’s motorcade just before 11:00 a.m., but was otherwise well outside the range of the college’s graduation activities. Several television vans were on site and numerous reporters covered the demonstrations.