Across the globe, Yalies protest war in Iraq over spring break



There is no spring break from politics.

Over the past two weeks, Yalies participated in anti-war protests across the world, and those who did not take part were affected as well. According to the Yale Coalition for Peace, more protests are in the works for both New Haven and the nearest major cities.

Carolyn Rothman ’06 said she attended International A.N.S.W.E.R.’s Stop the War march on March 15 at the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., with the Princeton-based Coalition for Peace Action. She said speakers expressed support for the troops, despite their opposition to the war.

“There was a huge show of support,” Rothman said of the 100,000 who attended the march. “It was amazing to see the broad array of groups and ideas come together for this one thing: to protest the war.”

Maren Ludwig ’05 said she and her friends were caught in their hotel in Madrid, Spain, March 16 because of an anti-war protest.

Though Ludwig said she noticed people putting up speakers and banners hours beforehand in the plaza, she did not realize they were organizing such a large protest.

“It lasted for two hours, I would say, real easily,” Ludwig said. “We couldn’t get out of the hotel because of the crush of people. It was a pretty impressive sight. You know, in international soccer matches, where they’re jumping around? It was like that.”

The same day, Ludwig said her trip to the Reina Sofia Museum was interrupted by a half-hour long protest of school children and teachers.

“The kids were like 5 and 6 years old.” Ludwig said. “We were surprised by how young everyone was. But no one else seemed to be [surprised].”

Ludwig said she did not experience any anti-American sentiment in Spain, but several people came up to her asking her to sign petitions.

In front of New Haven’s Christ Church Sunday, a small assembly of anti-war protesters shouted, “The people united to stop this war,” as a handful of pro-war demonstrators yelled back.

One of the anti-war signs read “There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”

Saqib Bhatti ’04, a member of the Yale Coalition for Peace, has participated in a number of rallies recently, including one Sunday in Hartford. The action was part of the Statewide Emergency Response protest, scheduled in advance for the Sunday following the war’s commencement. Bhatti said he thought roughly 1,000 people, including 10 Yale students, attended. Yale genetics professor Mazin Qumsiyeh spoke at the demonstration.

Bhatti said there will be many protests around the country in the weeks to come. In New Haven alone, there will be one Tuesday at 4 p.m. at the New Haven Federal Courthouse. Others include protests in New York City and Boston on Saturday, an affirmative action protest in Washington, D.C., on April 1, and anti-war protests in New York City, Washington, Oakland and Chicago on April 5. In addition, there will be a Latin American solidarity conference and march with a large anti-war contingency April 12. The Yale Peace Coalition will be sending buses to Washington, D.C., for the April 5 war protests.

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