No Matter What, We Will Protest

 Photographs by Leslie Van Stelten and Cary Conover

As many as 500,000 people are expected to protest at next month's Republican National Convention. Here are some of the people who answered yes to our question "Are you marching?" and explained why.

Name: John Gabriel
Age: 49
Owner of a hair salon

I've never been to a march before—I'm a virgin. I really hold a grudge about how Bush was elected. I feel even more strongly about that than I do about the war in Iraq. They've got the father-son presidents thing down into the history books. Now it's time for him to go.

Name: Michelle Munn
Age: 35

I know that dishonesty isn't a political issue, but Bush is such a liar, his pants are on fire. How can he even sit? Marching peacefully is powerful and necessary, especially in a climate like today's, where people don't regularly exercise their First Amendment rights. Everyone has the right to express themselves. I don't care if you're the KKK. You have the right to your opinion.

Name: Mara Carreiro
Age: 33

The Republicans have a right to hold a convention, and we have a right to march. When I go, I'll be protesting against the Bush administration, the war in Iraq, and AIDS, among many other issues. There are so many, it's hard to choose one. I'm originally from Brazil, where we have a lot of protests. I've marched for better education and to protest the fact that teachers aren't paid enough.

Name: Andy Phillips
Age: 25
Salon coordinator

Over the past six or seven months, I've felt very helpless. I'm actually planning to move out of the country if Bush is re-elected. For the convention protests, I'm going to get together with some friends, because you have to go to these things with other people.

Name: Patrick Head
Age: 22
[New Jersey]

I tried to go to the anti-war march, but there were 40 cops on every block, and you couldn't find a way to enter the march. This one is going to be big; that's why I'm looking forward to it. Prior to this, the only time I ever protested was in seventh grade, when they were going to fire the janitor and we all stood up and walked out of the school. They told us to go back inside or we'd all get detention, but they didn't fire the janitor.

Name: Han Phan
Age: 25

I've never marched before, except in the school band, where I played the flute. I was at the head of the line. I'm against the current manipulation of the Constitution and building discrimination into it. That's what I'll be protesting, but I think marching's really only effective when it engages people who would normally be apathetic. For the government officials who make the decisions, public protest is meaningless.

Name: Hal Lightstone
Age: 46

I'm Canadian, so if I get arrested I become an undesirable alien. I really support the protesters. There is a big asshole—a supreme asshole—in the White House, and I believe he's put the country in great danger. We've now spread ourselves so thin that another attack is imminent. If Bush starts to piss off the North Koreans, I'm moving back to Canada.

Name: Dumgey Mumuni
Age: 44
Distributes flyers

I'm a Democrat, and I feel it's my obligation to protest, among other things, the economy and the fact that there are no jobs. Years ago, I marched in Ghana in support of the overthrow of Dr. Hilla Limann. The new government did a better job, but I still had to come to the U.S. to support my family. When I got here, Clinton was president, and there were so many jobs. Now it's a disaster.

Name: Joe Origlieri
Age: 19
[New Jersey]

We're planning to march with the Libertarians. To me, it's worth going to the march just to protest the fact that they won't let us protest. And of course, we'll be marching against the war in Iraq. I have a good friend from high school who's now in the army. When you talk to him about the torture at Abu Ghraib, he says, "That's how you get information." He never talked like that before. Marching's crucial. People don't realize how important these issues are.

Name: Lita Hernandez
Age: 32
Fashion stylist

I'm slightly intimidated by the police, but I'm going. I want to go with friends because at the March anti-war protest, I got separated from my group and didn't like it. I'm 100 percent against the Bush administration and the war in Iraq. I hope marching helps. I think it does. I think public opinion makes newspapers like The New York Times report more critically.

Name: Ali Eskandarian
Age: 25

I marched as a child against the Iranian government, and I think motivating the masses is crucial. These warnings about possible violence at the convention are just more public relations. Things are going to happen. I just want to get this bastard out of office.

Name: Jason Ferraro
Age: 23
Delivery person 1
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