BOSTON -- The Falun Gong folks were there. So were the people calling for manned missions to Mars.
For all its hype, the exchange of views between Vice President Al Gore and Gov. George W. Bush of Texas inside Tuesday's presidential debate couldn't come close to the wide breadth of views outside.
Supporters of Green Party candidate Ralph Nader held a puppet show, with acts titled "Big Business" and "Two-party System." Members of the Revolutionary Communist Party sold Communist newspapers for $1, and passed out flyers that said, "Bury the pig system."
Thousands of demonstrators held protests throughout the day, converging Tuesday night at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, the site of the first presidential debate this election year.
The crowd swelled to 12,000 as protesters and supporters of Gore and Bush poured onto the campus, said Boston police Superintendent Bobbie Johnson.
After the debate ended, hundreds of protesters knocked over police barricades and sat down -- arms linked -- in a road leading to the debate hall.
Police rode horses into the throng of seated protesters, and chemical spray was used to subdue the crowd. Officers dragged away and beat with truncheons those protesters who refused to move from the road.
Five people were treated for minor injuries, and two were taken to the hospital, said state police Capt. Robert Bird.
Sixteen people were arrested, but the debate was not disrupted, and the candidates left by another route, unhindered by the protests.
Before the debate, Boston Globe photographer Dominic Chavez was picked up and thrown to the ground by a man who then slammed his camera into his back, according to Catie Aldrich, the Globe's photography director. Chavez was hospitalized but did not appear seriously injured, Aldrich said.
"There's a lot of hostility between the Gore people and the Nader people," said Lila Brown, 19, a Nader supporter holding a sign saying "Vote Hemp."
As she spoke, Palestinians nearby chanted for justice in the Middle East, and a group of Vietnamese immigrants protested the hiring of two Communist researchers for a project on Vietnamese-American culture at the university.
Anarchists in black hooded sweat shirts and bandanna-shrouded faces beat a drum and refused to speak. Others criticized U.S. involvement in Colombia.
About a half-dozen people practiced the moves and meditation of the Falun Gong spiritual movement. Others protested the death penalty. One banner read, "Psychiatric drugs make zombies out of children."
Many of the protesters criticized Nader's exclusion from the debate. Nader, Libertarian Harry Browne and Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan fell short of the 15 percent in major polls the Commission on Presidential Debates required for debate participants.
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