The small number of demonstrators at the Republican National Convention is an indication that George Bush's critics don't think he'll be elected, one protester says.

"There's no turnout, because everybody thinks George Bush is a goner," said Dana Beal, who describes himself as a 41-year-old career protester from New York City.Absent so far are large groups of protesters who traditionally turn out at national political conventions. Instead, those here appear to be part of a loose network of people who go from one convention-related event to another staging demonstrations.

Tuesday, about 20 protesters held up signs and shouted in front of IMREG Inc., a pharmaceutical company that manufactures one of the few promising drugs effective in the treatment of acquired immune deficiency syndrome or AIDS.

Demonstrators said they objected to the federal government's bureaucratic red tape, which has delayed the release of drugs to treat AIDS.

Six demonstrators were arrested Monday at a rally for evangelist Pat Robertson. Others got into a shoving match with police outside the Superdome.

About 20 demonstrators marched with a police escort down Poydras Street, near the Superdome, to protest the U.S. presence in the Persian Gulf.

But things were quiet about six blocks away at Lafayette Park, the designated free-speech and demonstration gathering place for the convention.

The stage built for protesters was empty all morning and much of Monday afternoon. Police assigned there milled around and sought relief from the sweltering Louisiana summer.