While Bush was in Salt Lake City to address the American Legion on Thursday, the Democratic Mayor of Salt Lake City, Rocky Anderson addressed a crowd of thousands of cheering anti-Bush protesters, “calling President Bush a “dishonest, war-mongering, human-rights violating president” whose time in office would” rank as the worst presidency our nation has ever had to endure.””
The group – including children and elderly and some hailing from throughout Utah – then marched to the federal building Wednesday to deliver a copy of a symbolic indictment against the president and Congress for abuse of power and failure to uphold the U.S. Constitution.
With their signs labeling Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld the “axis of evil,” calling the Iraq war a “mission of lies” or comparing the invasion of Iraq after Sept. 11, 2001, to invading Mexico after Pearl Harbor, the estimated 1,500 to 4,000 protesters hoped their demonstration at the Salt Lake City-County Building sent a message about the reddest state in the country.
The Rev. Tom Goldsmith of the First Unitarian said, “If they [the Bush administration] lack support in Utah, my God they’re in trouble.”
The Salt Lake Tribune reports, “Anderson has been attacked by the GOP in radio ads for headlining in the rally, but he didn’t soft-pedal his condemnation of Bush.”
He led the crowd to chant, “Give us the truth,” throughout his speech and lambasted the president, Congress and the media for leading the country into an “unjustified and illegal” war.
“The truth has been established. Iraq had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks on the United States,” Anderson said. “There is no evidence of any operational ties between Iraq and al-Qaida. And there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. . . . We are fed lie after lie, our media reinforces those lies, and we are a nation that has been led to a tragic, illegal, unprovoked war.”
Anderson, the two-term Democratic mayor whose name was chanted by demonstrators during his speech, had invited national anti-war protester Cindy Sheehan to speak, but she canceled because of poor health.
At the federal building, protesters had to wait outside as organizers delivered the petition. The lingering pack, observed by five armed federal guards, chanted “No more war” and “We are the people.”
Ruth Dunn, of Tooele, UT summed up the day succinctly: “This is what democracy looks like.”