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National bailout protest sees low turnout locally

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Posted: Friday, September 26, 2008 12:00 am

On a national day of "emergency rallies," a small group of women gathered on the corner of South Main Street and Southwest Second Avenue to protest the $700 billion government bailout for Wall Street.

TrueMajority, a grassroots group founded by Ben & Jerry's co-founder Ben Cohen, encouraged the day of protest against government funds being used to save struggling financial corporations.

In Gainesville, the protest attracted five people.

The event's planner, Gabriela Waschewsky, and four other women showed up in front of the courthouse at the 5 p.m. starting time.

Waschewsky, a member of Gainesville's Green Party, said in an interview before the protest that this was the first time she has organized a political event. Waschewsky said she's trying to get herself and others involved in politics.

"If there are people who are actually going out and standing on a corner for hours, it shows that they're a little more interested in this issue," she said.

Though the turnout was lower than she intended, the women said their piece about the state of the economy.

Fe Ripka, another protester and a member of the women's political group CodePink, said the bailouts are merely giving money to big corporations, robbing taxpayers of their money.

Ripka, who waved a sign that said "Health care for all," said she lived in Bradford County but often came to Gainesville to protest.

JAnn Murray, a staffer of the Alachua County Labor Party, said it was important to show a stance on the bailout issue because it's affecting everyone.

"They're just using this scare tactic and time constraints to force us to go along with what they want us to do," Murray said. "You don't have to just swallow it."

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