Friday, October 16, 2009

President Obama's Visit Met with Protests Over Range of Issues

President Obama's San Francisco visit sparked responses ranging from those willing to pay $30,000 a couple to meet him at a VIP dinner - see previous blogs - to a placarding protestor who called him an 'Obamination'.

In between, were the protestors and campaigners squeezed into the end of Union Square opposite the Westin St Francis Hotel who hoped to catch his eye on a range of issues.

Greenpeace placards and banners were probably second in profusion to those on healthcare.

'We are all here today to make sure that President Obama keeps up with his campaign promises of strong climate action,' said Courtney, an environmental science student - pictured second from right

Local Greenpeace organizer, Lauren, said the day coincided with 'Blog Action Day,' a day when bloggers around the world were drawing attention to environmental issues.

Small businesses found a voice in David and Heather, co-owners of a company who make Obama Jack-in-the-boxes - 'the company is us!' - who illustrated their point in costume.

Another poster asking, 'What happens when small businesses like mine can't pay skyrocketing taxes + fees?'

Political thespians, Billionaires for Wealthcare, were in their pin-stripes, feathered boas and hats.

'We thank the little people for shying away from desiring real healthcare reform,' said Janine, pictured below left, with Ingrid.

Bystanders, many of them tourists, were on the streets opposite watching the event and the quintessential cable cars made a careful ascent and descent between the protestors and the hotel.

'This is our first day here and we didn't know this was happening,' said Alan, on holiday with his wife from Scotland. News of the President's arrival had eventually reached them and they had gone to the square in the slim hope of a glimpse of him. However, their expectations of seeing him were realistically low.

'I'm fairly neutral said Rupert, also from Scotland. 'I think he's a welcome change from Bush. I think Bush made a bit of a mess of the war, but then we're complicit, we're British.

'How he's going to fix it, I don't know. Good luck to him!'

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