[Hpn] Protesters Ready for Boston Debate

William Tinker wtinker@fcgnetworks.net
Thu, 21 Sep 2000 19:41:29 -0400


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       Thursday September 21 5:57 PM ET
       Protesters Ready for Boston Debate

       By STEVE LEBLANC, Associated Press Writer

       BOSTON (AP) - Groups that oppose everything from the cost of
prescription drugs to globalization plan to converge here Oct. 3 for the
first presidential debate between Vice President Al Gore (news - web sites)
and Texas Gov. George W. Bush (news - web sites).

       One group, Boston Mobilization for Survival, promises street
festivals, alternative debates and ``nonviolent direct action designed to
disrupt or shut down the debate.''

       Other planned events include a rally by Green Party presidential
candidate Ralph Nader (news - web sites) and a bus ride by seniors
protesting the cost of prescription medicines.

       Myrtle Jackson, a retired nurse from Lynn, said candidates have to
pay more attention to the plight of the elderly. She said her monthly bill
for medication is $500 but while the state helps cover the expense, not
every senior is as lucky.

       ``It's a choice of whether you eat, pay your rent or buy your
prescription drugs,'' said Jackson, a member of the Massachusetts Senior
Action Council.

       The group plans a ``senior summit'' on the eve of the debate and will
gather outside the offices of a local pharmaceutical company to protest the
``obscene profiteering'' of drug manufacturers, organizers said.

       Other groups hope to highlight a broader palate of issues, from the
death penalty to homelessness to ``corporate greed.''

       Boston Mobilization for Survival, working as a clearinghouse for many
of the protesters, will stage a ``Freedom for Sale'' rally on Boston Common
on the afternoon of the debate.

       Organizers also hope to close down streets near the debate itself,
which is to be held at the campus shared by the University of Massachusetts
and the John F. Kennedy Library in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston.

       Green Party activists another goal - getting their candidate on stage
with Bush and Gore.

       The Commission on Presidential Debates bars participation by
third-party candidates who fail to get at least 15 percent support in
national polls. Nader's support is in the single digits.

       His backers plan a rally at the FleetCenter two days before the
debate to rouse support and draw attention to the lack of access by
candidates, such as Nader and the Reform Party's Pat Buchanan (news - web
sites).



       On the Net: http://www.bostonmobilization.org

       http://www.votenader.org/