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How a Bunch of Ragtag Militant Protesters Turned the Gates of Notre Dame into the Gates of Hell

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I spoke with an older woman from Britain who talked about how she doesn’t like abortion but really thought we should be more worried about the wars which were killing people. And, she told me, that as she looks at the groups of people this really racism. The people on the side of the streets protesting aren’t just there to stop abortions.

People holding Obama ’08 signs showed up. They held up Obama books like The Audacity of Hope for the anti-abortionists to see.

A woman with an Obama bag shouted, “Y’all been lynching niggers for a long time.” She went on to rub the fact that Barack Obama had made it to the White House in the God Hates Fags people’s faces.

The uproar of the gates was now so loud that you could hear it from hundreds of feet away. And just when I thought I had seen everything I could see, I turn to cross the intersection and head back on to campus for some final shots and see three or four African-American teenagers carrying cardboard signs.

They waved the cardboard signs and shouted as they came up behind a group of anti-abortionists. Right in front of me, they thrust into the air signs talking about Obama ’09 and “f*ck you if you don’t support Obama!”

The kids had no ideology, just one simple message. Born out of black power? I don’t know. I think it was just teenagers being kids.

They got an anti-abortionist to try and convert them. The kids simply said, “If you don’t like Obama, it’s over. That’s it. You don’t get to talk. That’s it.”

A policeman came over to handle the situation. If there’s one thing the anti-abortionists cannot handle other than abortion, it is the “F” word. And, reasonably so. f*cking, especially black people f*cking, leads to a huge amount of abortions. (So, they told me while I was standing on the corner.)

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The racket came to a point as I turned and said to my cameraman, “Get me some footage of Randall Terry, here.” Obama was speaking inside at this point. Terry had failed, and word was that he was now taking out his frustration on the media while at the same time trying to make things seem like he succeeded.

I looked closer and, as a photo op began, Terry and another leader dressed in church garb began to smoke cigars. That’s when a God Hates Fags guy came over and started yelling his head off about how Terry was a hypocrite because he’s against abortion but was smoking and secondhand smoke kills babies.

I wanted more than anything to see Terry turn around and punch this guy, but Terry headed across the street and Terry gave one last final rally cry to his followers, “Go to the other gate—the Douglas gate. Obama’s motorcade will be coming through and I want him to have to go through a sea of humanity.”

So, off I went with my cameraperson to this exit to capture the motorcade on film before I said of this production, “That’s a wrap!”

The protesters never made it to the other gate. Security (state police, county sheriffs, South Bend police, Notre Dame Security, etc.) were confiscating signs and one protester was even arrested for asking a cop a question about why he or she couldn’t have signs at the intersection Obama would be coming through.

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By 5 pm, the gates were back to the way they were before this invitation was announced. The protesters had gotten on their buses to head back to Chicago or gone back to their State Theatre headquarters in downtown South Bend to put this act in perspective and convince themselves what they did was worth it after all.

Interestingly, by 1 pm, Terry and others had given up on being arrested for their cause. Keyes said he didn’t want people engaging in civil disobedience anymore because it would mean people might be taken away from their families for awhile.

In the end, Terry claimed “mission accomplished” because people’s attention was drawn to this “treachery.” But, on camera, he said his goal was to stop Obama from speaking. So, he shifted his position and I don’t think the media bothered to call him on it at all (the media let Terry become a favorite character to follow throughout this controversy).

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Kevin Gosztola is a writer and curator of Firedoglake's blog The Dissenter, a blog covering civil liberties in the age of technology. He is an editor for OpEdNews.com and a former intern and videographer for The Nation Magazine.And, he's the (more...)
 

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There may have been a lot of out of towners there ... by macdon1 on Monday, May 18, 2009 at 4:12:10 PM
Wonderful picturesque writing. I Am glad I was the... by William Whitten on Monday, May 18, 2009 at 5:33:42 PM
Oh, man!  That sounds like it was a regular c... by Sister Begonia on Monday, May 18, 2009 at 7:16:45 PM
That's Fred Phelps' organization. They were there.... by Kevin Gosztola on Monday, May 18, 2009 at 7:41:50 PM
These militants are extremely angry because t... by syed mahdi on Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 4:34:17 AM
What I find disconcerting specifically regarding t... by WML on Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 7:32:30 AM