- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 17, 2004

The Million Worker March held on the Mall yesterday fell about 990,000 marchers short.

Fewer than 10,000 protesters turned out at the Lincoln Memorial to rally for or against a hodgepodge of causes and political views under the banner of the “Million Worker March.”

Anti-war demonstrators and labor activists were the most strongly represented groups. But dozens of other groups rallied for causes ranging from the Communist Party to an end to touch-screen voting.

The event was proposed by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10 in San Francisco, and backers included the Transport Workers Union, the National Education Association and the American Postal Workers Union.

Margaret Prescod, an organizer, said as many as 1,000 protesters were diverted yesterday because Metropolitan Police Department officers told bus drivers to drop off passengers at RFK Stadium.

Still, the event appeared to fall short of organizers’ expectations.

“Given the obstacles we faced, having this much of a turnout was incredible,” Ms. Prescod said.

The event lasted more than six hours and included speeches by actors Danny Glover and Dick Gregory. However, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who had been expected to speak, did not attend.

Mr. Glover said the rally was just a start. “The rally is only a catalyst,” he said. “The rally is only a moment in time.” Mr. Gregory called on attendees to vote against President Bush, whom the actor called “a thug.”

Despite the low turnout, organizers and activists were upbeat about the event.

Joseph Brown, 54, a window washer from Bethesda, said the rally showed that pro-labor and anti-war causes could work together, though he added that attendance wasn’t what he expected.

“It’s Sunday, and people like to stay home and watch their football,” said Mr. Brown, who belongs to the Green Party.

Many of the protesters weren’t associated with any particular cause. One of them was college student Chelsea Seachord, 19, a sophomore at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg.

“This is the first time I’ve been to anything political,” she said. “This year I decided to get out of the dorm room. I really feel strongly about education. A lot of kids don’t have any options.”

Dean Lee, 23, of Manassas, who works for a moving company, said he grew more interested in workers’ causes because he sees more of his friends unable to afford to move out on their own.

“A lot of people our age still live with their parents,” he said. “It’s hard. The ideal of the American dream is not a viable idea for our generation.”

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