What is a Presidential trip to New York without some protest? During President Bush's United Nations General Assembly address (in which he tried to emphasize that the U.S. wanted a diplomatic solution to Iran's nuclear program), protesters rallied outside to speak out against the war in Iraq. After initially being prohibited from marching by the NYPD - which then allowed the march to take place if only on the sidewalk and on a different route - 3,000 people joined in. am New York reported that one marcher was disappointed in the turnout: Paul Rosa said, "I understand people have to work, but there are four or five million people in this city who are against the war. For protests to be effective, they have to be massive and sustained." Which makes us wonder how many people would have liked to marched but couldn't because of work. The police reported 15 arrests.
Here is the text of Bush's speech and some analysis from Newsweek. And how crazy is it that the Thai military staged a coup while the prime minister was here for the General Assembly opening? Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra canceled his address.
Oh, and the gridlock for Midtown East was so bad that the Daily News had two reporters race from 34th Street to 60th Street on Third Avenue - one by M102 bus and the other by foot - at noon. And one Tudor City bus passenger spewed to the bus-riding commuter, "Let the UN move to Alaska! Every time the President comes to New York, he shuts it down. This is an unfair and unnecessary inconvenience." At any rate, MTA Chairman Peter Kalikow pointed out that the traffic problems were a perfect reason why the Second Avenue subway line was needed.
Photograph of United for Peace and Justice protesters yesterday by Seth Wenig/AP