With chants of “No more skulls, no more bones, bring our soldiers home,” some 500 protesters called for peace Saturday on the steps of the secret society tomb that they called the “secret campaign headquarters” of the Bush administration.
In a march from downtown New Haven to the Skull and Bones tomb on High Street, the protesters stopped traffic through the Yale campus. Before the march through the rain, which was sponsored by the New Haven Green Party, protesters packed the United Church on the Green for a peace rally with speeches from several community leaders.
Minister Kevin Mohammed, a representative of the Nation of Islam, said the war had nothing to do with the American people, but has everything to do with a few individuals with special interests. He even called on Bush to send his daughters to war.
“We have coke addicts and crack addicts, and America has become an oil addict,” Mohammed said to a rousing applause. “If they want a regime change in Iraq, we definitely need a regime change in America.”
Noted historian and peace advocate Howard Zinn wrote the opening statement for the rally.
“The talk [in the news] is about strategy and tactics,” Zinn’s statement said. “What is missing is what an American war in Iraq will do to hundreds of thousands of ordinary human beings.”
Calling for Americans to wake up and say “enough is enough,” Imam Zaid Shakir, a professor at Southern Connecticut State University, said in his speech that it was time to crash the party. He described the American revolution against “King George of Britain” and the current revolution in Britain against “King George of America,” referring to what he said was Bush’s lack of international political support.
“How history has come full circle,” Shakir said.
Ward 2 Alderwoman Joyce Chen ’01 said Bush ignores the American people.
“Where is democracy in America?” Chen said in her speech. “War is not inevitable, and it is us who will prevent it from happening.”
Announcing the formation of a new group, Connecticut Labor Against the War, spokesman Nick Allen said the group’s members will keep fighting until the drive to war is gone. Allen said the “blood that will spill in the streets of Baghdad” will be that of working-class people.
Kelly Anthony, a professor at Wesleyan University, was a member of an academic delegation that recently visited Iraq, and said a war is not the solution.
“I can tell you, the Iraqi people do not want this war,” Anthony said. “They want democracy. Most of them do not want Saddam Hussein in power, but they do not want the United States in power either.”
People came from around the state to join the Green Party in protesting the war. Wearing a helmet with pro-labor and anti-war stickers, Hal Ljongquist, of Wolcott, said he hopes Bush will come to his senses and not take America to war.
“I’m here to depress sentiment for and to increase resistance to the War in Iraq and to restore social programs that have been taken away,” Ljongquist said.
Some protesters brought their children along. Seven year old Noah Segal-Gould of Hamden, who attended the rally with his mother, said he opposes what he calls the “War for Oil” and called Bush “a lunatic.”
“If I say ‘Peace for children,’ do you think the President will hear me?” Segal-Gould asked.
The protesters proceeded from the church to “storm” Skull and Bones, which the protesters called the “New Haven home” of Bush. The society’s membership includes Bush and his father, George H.W. Bush ’48.