Rowdy rally protests fourth anniversary of war

by Beacon Staff • March 28, 2007

on Boston Common Saturday for an anti-war protest, calling on Congress and the President to end the war and bring troops home immediately. The protest was sponsored by about 60 organizations and featured speeches by prominent anti-war activists, including

Cindy Sheehan and liberal historian Howard Zinn.,Several thousand demonstrators convened

on Boston Common Saturday for an anti-war protest, calling on Congress and the President to end the war and bring troops home immediately. The protest was sponsored by about 60 organizations and featured speeches by prominent anti-war activists, including

Cindy Sheehan and liberal historian Howard Zinn. Dozens of booths run by organizations sponsoring the event dotted the Common, promoting causes such as ending the war in Iraq and diverting military funds to projects in America. Speakers at the event focused on the costs of the war both abroad and at home, and called on the government to end the war. Some cited programs, such as healthcare initiatives, that could be funded with the money currently being spent in Iraq.

"There is only one timetable for withdrawal," Zinn said, "and that is to get the troops out as fast as ships and planes can carry them."

Freshman new media major Bruce Paul, who came to the rally, said the war was "unjust" and Congress should take more measures to end it soon. "We never should have been there in the first place," Paul said. "So why should we be there now?"

Many people at the protest criticized Congress for not withdrawing troops now, citing the midterm elections as proof that most Americans want the troops out. Paul said the protest would hopefully remind Congress of the opposition to the war, and lead them to take action. "[The protest] will continually show to Congress that people are against the war,"said Paul. "Eventually they will figure out that they have to do something."

Emerson professor Robert Hilliard,

who attended the event, also said the war should never have been launched. "The only reason we went in was to get their oil and establish military and political bases," he said.

While the vast majority of those in attendance came to voice their opposition to the war, a few came to show their support. Members of the Northeastern College Republicans walked through groups of protesters, one carrying a sign that read "Cindy Sheehan is a disgrace and anti-American".

"We're pro-American," said Lindsey Seaver, a third-year political science major at Northeastern. "We support the troops and we support the President."

Following the rally, protesters took to the streets, waving banners and chanting anti-war slogans in a military cadence as they marched past the State House and through parts of downtown. "I like their spirit," said passer-by Rob Star, 28, as he watched the protesters go by. "I don't think anything will come of it, but it's great to see them showing what they believe in."

After the protesters returned to the Common, a small contingent approached the Army Recruitment Center on Tremont Street. At least 70 police officers guarded the front and side of the building, forming a barricade with bicycles between the demonstrators and the entrance. Protesters stood for nearly an hour in front of the building calling for the closure of the center. As he left the protest, Hilliard said he was surprised at the scant number of people from Emerson in attendance.

"There appears to be no evidence

that Emerson is a liberal school, considering that few Emersonians cared enough about the war in Iraq to come to a rally right in front of Emerson," Hilliard

said. "If they cared about it, they would take a one-minute walk."