Democrats Protest Around US

Mon. December 11, 2000 12:00 AM by Newstream

Miami, FL - Hundreds of Democratic supporters staged rallies around the country Monday to voice their anger over the halted vote recount in Florida, with some alleging that a disproportionate number of the uncounted ballots were cast by blacks.

Protesters chanted ``No justice, no peace'' in downtown Miami while the United States Supreme Court in Washington heard arguments from lawyers for George W. Bush and Al Gore on whether to resume a suspended manual recount of undervotes in Florida.

Dozens of NAACP members arrived in South Florida in chartered buses from as far away as California and from 16 other states.

``Everyone is watching to see whether there will be someone appointed or someone elected,'' said Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, who was recently named chairwoman of the 38-member Congressional Black Caucus. ``We're here today to demand that the Constitution be put ahead of convenience,'' Johnson said.

The protesters held signs that said ``Count every vote'' as they marched from the Miami Arena to the government building where the Miami-Dade County canvassing board aborted a hand recount of all ballots on Nov. 22. Board members said they didn't have time to complete the recount by the November 26th deadline set by the state Supreme Court.

NAACP president Kweisi Mfume said the group plans to sue Florida and some of its counties, seeking changes in the election process because ``black voters were increasingly denied their right to vote.''

In Hartford, Connecticut, more than 30 people rallied in the glow of candlelight Monday evening. ``The purpose of the rally is to have a public sharing of outrage,'' said AFL-CIO member Merrilee Milstein, a rally organizer. ``It strikes us as being very undemocratic in a country where there are votes that have not been counted.''

In Boston, about 100 people, holding lighted candles and signs aloft, gathered in front of the John F. Kennedy Federal Building cheering speakers who said the nation's most sanctified principles were at stake.

In Atlanta, about 30 protesters marched in front of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, singing ``This Little Light of Mine.''

``Any way you look at it, Gore won this election,'' said Joe Beasley, regional director for the Rainbow/Push Coalition.

In Sacramento, California, about 100 union members and Democratic Party campaign volunteers rallied outside the federal courthouse. Demonstrators waved Gore-Lieberman campaign signs and placards that read ``All I Want For Christmas Is To Count Every Vote.''

News, photos provided by Newstream