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Campaign Violence


This week’s violent ransacking of a Bush/Cheney headquarters in Orlando, Florida may have been part of a series of protests coordinated by the AFL-CIO. The AFL-CIO has taken credit on its website for a nationwide protest campaign at Bush/Cheney headquarters and other venues. A number of these protests may have involved significant acts of intimidation. Congressman Tom Feeney, of Florida’s 24th district, site of the ransacked Orlando Bush headquarters, has written a letter to Attorney General Ashcroft calling for a formal investigation, deposition of the protesters, and a swift report. Over fifty congressman have signed the letter. Here is an excerpt:

This week, in Orlando, Florida, approximately 100 protestors stormed and ransacked the local Bush-Cheney headquarters injuring one campaign staffer who suffered a broken wrist and causing considerable damage.

According to news accounts, similar “protests” occurred yesterday across the country in Miami, FL; Tampa, FL; Kansas City, MO; Dearborn, MI; St. Paul, MN; Independence, MO; and West Allis, WI. All of the “protests” appear to be a coordinated effort by members of a major labor union to intimidate staff and volunteers of the Bush-Cheney campaign. The AFL-CIO took credit on their own website for these protests that included thousands of workers in 17 cities across the country.

In what is apparently one of those coordinated “protests”, the Bush-Cheney headquarters in West Allis, Wisconsin was invaded by more than 50 protestors who disrupted campaign activities and intimidated campaign workers and volunteers. According to the Associated Press, over 100 union protestors physically stormed their way into Bush-Cheney headquarters in Miami, Florida and intimidated volunteers inside. In what could be a related incident, although the perpetrator has not yet been identified, the Knoxville, TN Bush-Cheney office was hit by gun-fire on Tuesday morning, shattering the plate-glass front doors before volunteers showed up for work.

These attacks are not conduct protected by the First Amendment. The activities were carried out on the same day throughout the country, apparently organized by the same national organization. The lack of any notice and the pattern suggest a plan to intimidate volunteers who were supporting their candidate in the upcoming Presidential campaign.