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Antiwar protesters criticize President Obama during visit

May 27, 2009 |  6:27 pm

About 40 antiwar protesters were holding a peaceful but noisy demonstration near the Beverly Hilton Hotel, where President Obama is holding a fundraiser. They demanded the release of torture photos and the prosecution of Bush-era officials for war crimes.

The demonstrators were beating on drums and chanting, “Obama and Cheney are just the same. They do torture in your name.”  A few of the protesters were wearing orange jumpsuits and black hoods over their heads, mimicking the photos of Guantanamo detainees.

Though small, the demonstration was eliciting honks and thumbs-up signs from motorists passing through the intersection of Santa Monica and Wilshire boulevards. The protest, which began about 3:30 p.m., was organized by World Can’t Wait, a group coordinating demonstrations in 15 other cities this week.

“In terms of national security and state policy, Obama and Bush are one in the same," said Dennis Loo, a professor of sociology at Cal Poly Pomona and a member of the national steering committee for World Can’t Wait. “In fact, Obama is extending the war in Afghanistan and into Pakistan. A lot of people feel betrayed because they expected something different from him.”

-- Carla Rivera