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Politics & Policy
200 AIDS Advocates Protest Against Bush Administration's HIV/AIDS Policies in New York's Grand Central Station

September 3, 2004

Approximately 200 AIDS advocates protested the Bush administration's HIV/AIDS policies in New York City's Grand Central Station on Thursday, the same day President Bush accepted his party's nomination for re-election at the Republican National Convention, Reuters reports (McCool [1], Reuters, 9/2). Members of the AIDS advocacy organizations Housing Works and ACT UP "swarmed" into Grand Central Station, hung banners and chanted "fight AIDS, not war," according to Reuters (McCool [2], Reuters, 9/2). The protest began at 8:05 a.m., when about 100 advocates entered the station's main terminal -- some wearing shirts that read "If Bush had AIDS what would he do?" -- and displayed a banner reading, "America has AIDS. Our next president must stop the plague." Police arrested 19 advocates who refused orders to exit the station, most of whom were sitting at the base of an information booth, according to the AP/San Francisco Chronicle (Weissenstein, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 9/2). According to Long Island Newsday, protest organizers had planned in advance who among the group would be arrested, and only two people who had not planned to be arrested were taken into police custody (Searcey, Long Island Newsday, 9/3). "People that wanted to get arrested got arrested," Michael Kink of Housing Works said, adding, "The people who didn't want to get arrested were out here loud and representing." Approximately 100 members of Housing Works simultaneously protested outside Grand Central Station, where no arrests were made (Archibald, New York Times, 9/3). More than 1,760 people were arrested this week during the Republican National Convention, a record number for a U.S. political convention, according to Reuters (McCool [2], Reuters, 9/2).

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