Four lanes of Fruitville Road separated about 400 health-care reform supporters from the detractors during a Sept. 2 demonstration.
The group MoveOn.org organized the show of support outside U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan’s office at Fruitville Road and Orange Avenue. The Republican Party of Sarasota learned of the demonstration and urged its members to stage a counter-demonstration.
For the most part, reform supporters stayed on the north side of Fruitville, and the opponents stood on the south side.
“The number of uninsured and underinsured is critical,” said demonstrator Ed Hurley. “Without Medicaid, I wouldn’t have a ghost of a chance of getting health care.”
“(The reform bill) is not going to solve the problem,” said Larry Bernard. “It’s going to make it worse.”
Many people carried signs, with such slogans as “No to health-care change,” “Obama, wipe the lipstick off that pig,” “Don’t Obamacare me, bro” and “We can’t afford to wait.”
The demonstration was generally civil, with a few insults being shouted back and forth, such as, “It’s called capitalism, you idiots.”
MoveOn.org staged a candlelight vigil and invited people to stand before the other supporters and share their stories of struggling to maintain health care.
In response to the vigil being held across the street, one man held up a sign that read, “Candles cause global warming.”
Contact Robin Roy at [email protected].
Join the Neighborhood! Our 100% local content helps strengthen our communities by delivering news and information that is relevant to our readers. Support independent local journalism by joining the Observer's new membership program — The Newsies — a group of like-minded community citizens, like you. Be a Newsie.