More than 600 turn out to protest President's appearance in Reno

RENO - While President Bush regaled the faithful inside the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, more than 600 protesters walked the sidewalks outside carrying signs protesting policies ranging from the war in Iraq to No Child Left Behind and the Patriot Act.

"I'm here because of the damage that's been done to our international reputation," said Kit Prendergast of Reno.

She said her husband served 28 years in the Marines, including assignments with NATO in Europe.

"He was in Vietnam and Bosnia, so we have done what Bush didn't do," she said.

She said she was also concerned about the jeopardy Bush's policies have put the U.S. military in.

"Illegitimate president, Illegitimate war," read one sign. "One nation under surveillance," read another, drawn on a mock U.S. flag with black replacing the white stripes.

Farther down the street, signs included "Smart bombs, dumb President" and "If you can't pronounce it, don't bomb it."

"I don't want this idiot re-elected," said Marian Conrad of Reno. Conrad, the former national president of the National Education Association, charged Bush has "lied" about the war and Saddam Hussein's role in terrorism but said she is most angry about his education policies.

"No Child Left Behind is the worst thing that ever happened to public schools," she said. "He's just not a good president."

She and Danny Kitts of Reno, president of the Nevada State Education Association Retirees, described the new Medicare pharmaceutical benefits system as "laughable."

"The prescription drug plan is an outrageous farce," said Kitts. "It's going to harm people more than help and put money into the wrong pockets."

A good number of the protesters - more than a quarter - were college age with some even younger. A number of them said they were former Howard Dean supporters.

At the peak of the protest, they lined both sides of Virginia Street for most of the length of the convention center complex in south Reno.

Contact Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.


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