WASHINGTON (AP) — Hundreds of workers gathered at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday to demand health care, better wages, guaranteed Social Security benefits and an end to the war in Iraq.
Many of the longshoremen, transit workers, carpenters and mail carriers carried signs saying "Bush lied, thousands died," "More money for jobs, not war" and others. In the decidedly anti-President Bush atmosphere, some wore T-shirts and badges advocating the election of Democrat John Kerry or Reform Party candidate Ralph Nader.
Organizers had billed the gathering as the "Million Worker March" and had obtained a permit for a gathering of more than 100,000 on the National Mall. The turnout was much smaller, but U.S. Park Police has not made official crowd estimates since a furor arose in 1995 over its estimate of 400,000 at the "Million Man March" sponsored by the Nation of Islam.
"The majority of working people in America are not doing well," said Clarence Thomas, 57, a crane operator on the Oakland, Calif., docks and a leader of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10 in San Francisco, one of the key organizers of Sunday's rally.
"With jobs being offshored, outsourced, privatized, our young people are looking at a much more dismal future," he told the Washington Post.