Elder Bush Arrives; Protests Heat Up
Hundreds Of Protesters Arrested In Philadelphia Disruptions
Dan Bernard, Staff Writer, TheBostonChannel.com
August 6, 2000, 5:08 a.m. EDT
PHILADELPHIA -- Even as former President Bush arrived to join the Republican celebration of his son's presidential campaign, Philadelphia began to look a little like Seattle.
Police on Tuesday arrested at least 230 protesters who blocked traffic, broke squad car windows and threw debris in roadways in downtown Philadelphia.
Similar protests in preceding days -- against the death penalty, police brutality and other liberal concerns -- had gone mostly without incident. But on Tuesday, the vandalism and confrontations began to resemble the wild protests that coincided with Seattle's meeting of the World Trade Organization in December.
Far From The GOP
The Republican National Convention, located several miles from downtown in a fortress of security, was immune from disruption.
But the senior Bush came close to the civil disobedience: While he was putting in an appearance at a downtown exhibition of political memorabilia, protesters blocked roadways outside the hall, and several were arrested.
The other arrests came at several locations throughout Philadelphia's Center City after protesters sat down and locked arms in roadways, refusing to obey police orders to move. Philadelphia radio station KYW reported that roving groups of hundreds of protesters roved the city center, puncturing a few police car tires, turning over garbage Dumpsters and setting small fires.
The Associated Press reported that two police officers were treated for minor injuries and released when liquid was thrown in their eyes.
Former President Bush and his wife, Barbara Bush, were brought into the Pennsylvania Convention Center through an exit away from the protesters. They made a 45-minute public appearance and left without incident.
In the half-hour before the elder Bush arrived, demonstrators sat with locked arms across a street that runs in front of the convention center. Police stood in a line in front of the seated protesters, then parked a school bus there.
On the other end of the block, police wrestled several protesters to the ground and carried them into a paddy wagon shortly after 4 p.m.
As dozens of other officers ran to assist, some 20 police officers held batons in both hands across their chests and backed the protesters toward the intersection in which the protesters were seated. At least two protesters who moved slowly or objected to being moved were arrested.
One police officer estimated that no more than seven protesters were arrested at the convention center.
The Republican National Convention is taking place several miles away at the First Union Center, a sports arena complex in south Philadelphia.
Around 6 p.m. EDT, downtown Philadelphia was nearly chaotic as traffic was detoured and scores of police officers on bicycles and squad cars hurried to respond to reports.
Arrests As Elder Bush Arrives
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