Those Hippies in Utah

From Holden:

Expects sparks to fly when Chimpy attends the VFW convention in Salt Lake City next month.

When President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visit Salt Lake City next month for an American Legion national convention, Mayor Rocky Anderson plans a protest – even bigger than the one he spoke at last year.

Critical of Bush on several fronts – from the Iraq war to funding cuts to environmental policies – Anderson expects “tens of thousands” to demonstrate.

“I’m glad he’s coming to Salt Lake City,” Anderson said Friday. “I certainly hope there is an effective expression of opposition to where this country is headed right now under the Bush administration. When that happens in Salt Lake City, people pay attention all over the world. Of course, I would be very pleased to add my voice.”

[snip]

The president last visited Utah in August 2005 to speak to the Veterans of Foreign Wars at the Salt Palace. Then, Anderson called for “the biggest demonstration this state has ever seen.” Some 2,000 anti-war protesters joined him at Pioneer Park, drawing national media attention – largely because Anderson was involved and Utah is among the reddest of red states.

Linda Parsons, a member of the Wasatch Coalition for Peace and Justice, hopes for a repeat.

“He [Anderson] is a public official that speaks out against Bush’s policies and especially against the war. He believes firmly it’s an illegal war, and we should bring the troops home now. That’s important that we do have a public official that is willing to speak out in Salt Lake City.”

[snip]

The mayor said the United States has an opportunity for “building relations with nations around the world, to joining the world’s movement toward a non-fossil-fuel economy, to creating better, healthier, safer communities. They’re all unfortunately being ignored and undermined” by Bush.

Fred Mason, chairman of the executive committee of American Legion Post 112 in South Salt Lake, said an anti-Bush demonstration won’t bother him “as long as that protest doesn’t infringe on my rights.”

“Mayor Anderson has every right to protest,” Mason said. “We fought for his freedom. It’s called the First Amendment.”