Republican National Convention
Monday, July 31, 2000

Activists gather for unity rally




By Jennifer Brown
The Associated Press

        PHILADELPHIA — Several thousand activists in colorful costumes and bearing signs and banners with diverse messages crowded downtown streets in a peaceful protest Sunday on the eve of the Republican National Convention.

        The Unity 2000 rally attracted at least 7,000 people to a parade along streets closed by police for the event.

        Minor clashes erupted between anti-abortion and abortion rights activists, including an injury to an abortion rights protester and a shouting match between a police captain and the leader of an anti-abortion group. Tim Troxler, 34, received minor injuries when he fell off a truck with anti-abortion messages on it while he tried to cloak the truck in an abortion rights banner.

        The march included more than 200 groups supporting issues from environmental protection and animal rights to campaign finance reform and an end to police brutality.

        Two animal-rights activists wore furry pink pig and yellow chick costumes, while about 30 mock “Billionaires for Bush and Gore” wore tuxedos and evening gowns.

        While Sunday's march was largely uneventful, police were bracing for trouble once the convention begins. A homeless march, which did not receive a city permit, is scheduled for today. Activists also have said they will stage various acts of civil disobedience Tuesday.

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- Activists gather for unity rally