Hundreds of people gathered in New York Monday to express concern at the drawn-out confusion surrounding the outcome of last week's presidential election and to demand a recount in Florida.
The protesters gathered in southern Manhattan's Federal Plaza to express their indignation at irregularities that have plagued the electoral process in the key south-eastern state.
In the still-undecided state of Florida, a manual recount was underway in several counties Monday, including the Democratic stronghold of Palm Beach.
For Democratic candidate Al Gore or Republican candidate George W. Bush to be named the next US president, he must win a total of 270 electoral college votes.
And currently, Vice President Gore leads his Republican rival, Texas Governor Bush, by 262 electoral votes to 246.
However, Bush is ahead of Gore in Florida, by a margin of fewer than 300 popular votes, according to unofficial media tallies.
The candidate who wins Florida's 25 electoral votes -- by virtue of gaining more popular votes -- will become the 43rd president of the United States.
"Americans want the truth and they want the real answer," said movie actor Alec Baldwin, who joined in the demonstration.
"The truth is worth the wait," said demonstrator Frank Ferraro, 26. "In a democracy, every vote counts."
The protesters also lashed out at Bush, whose campaign tried unsuccessfully to obtain an injunction to prevent the manual vote recount in some of Florida's counties.
"What are the Republicans scared of?" asked an unnamed protestor. "Why don't they want a hand count?"
Meanwhile, Gore on Monday urged Florida election officials to have the "patience" to scrap a deadline that threatens his campaign's efforts to hand-count ballots there.
"I would not want to win the presidency by a few votes cast in error, or misinterpreted or not counted, and I don't think Governor (George W.) Bush wants that either," he said in front of the White House, in just his second public comments on the disputed 2000 election.
"What is at stake is the integrity of our democracy," he told reporters. "So having enough patience to spend the days necessary to hear exactly what the American people have said is really the most important thing." -- (AFP)
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