War policies fire up Obama protesters

  • Article by: RANDY FURST , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 30, 2011 - 9:51 PM

Many of the 200 outside president's speech say they once supported him but now are disillusioned by events.

President Obama was greeted at the Minneapolis Convention Center on Tuesday by about 200 mostly war protesters who shouted slogans and denounced his polices on Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.

The demonstration lacked the vitriol of protests that greeted President George W. Bush during visits to the Twin Cities. But it also revealed deep conflict among those who supported the president.

"I worked for Obama," said Terry Burke, 62, of St. Louis Park. "I went door to door many evenings. I am completely disillusioned. ... I think he's caved in to Wall Street, the wealthy and the military."

Will she vote for him again?

"I don't know," she said.

Police reported no arrests and kept protesters across the street from the Convention Center.

"None of them really caused any problems," Minneapolis police Lt. Ray Witzman said.

Some protesters said their numbers would have been larger if a Republican were in the White House conducting current military operations. "His decisions have been horrible," Terry Schwartz, a retired college teacher, said of Obama. "If this were Bush, if this were Reagan, there would be a much larger crowd."

The protesters joined in chants, urging federal authorities to drop subpoenas issued last year for several local antiwar activists.

Absent from the demonstration: Republicans or Tea Party protesters.

Not everyone came out to oppose the president.

Stephen Winkels, 60, and LaShella Sims, 62, carried signs supporting Obama. Winkels said he didn't mind the protest.

"He has so many things on his plate, he can't make people happy all the time," he said of Obama.

Sims called the protests, "part of the process," adding, "This is what they have to do to be heard."

Randy Furst • 612-673-4224

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