Anti-war protesters rally in D.C.

By Jonathan Barnett
September 27, 2007

Jerry Zurek

Thousands of people gathered in Washington, D.C., for an antiwar rally early on the morning of Saturday, Sept. 15, some prepared for acts of civil disobedience. They joined to march in protest against the war in Iraq, a war many of them feel to be illegal and immoral.

Protesters began to crowd near the White House around 8:30 that morning. They marched from their gathering place to the Capitol. Upon arriving in front of the Capitol many of the protesters staged a “die-in.”

While marching chants could be heard, “What do we want? PEACE! When do we want it? NOW!”

“I had never been to a demonstration like this before,” Amanda Finnegan, a senior English and communication major, said. “I was surprised about how angry some of the protesters were but I guess when you have an issue that heated, it’s expected.”

The protest brought individuals of all ages together to stand up for what they believe, a chance to practice their freedom of speech. “We are lucky in this country to be able to participate in marches like these and be able to express our own opinions.” Finnegan said.

The protesters heard speeches from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., when the march began. “The parents who got up on the stage and spoke about the children they have lost to the war was one of the most powerful things that day.” Patricia Sheehan, a senior English and communication major, said.

“The coffin and boots a set of parents brought to represent their son who was killed was probably one of the most moving things I saw,” Finnegan said as she recalled some of the most memorable parts of the day.

“I felt like I did not belong there. I got choked up at times, and was amazed at the people’s passion,” Alyssa Moore, a senior English and communication major, said.

The protest was peaceful with only a few minor exceptions. Prowar protesters were gathered in one area to meet the anti-war protesters. The police were able to keep everyone apart and short of yelling everything was kept in order.

“I had two family members in Iraq for the last four years so I feel very passionately about the situation and was happy I got to go and participate in my own way,” Finnegan said.

At the “die-in” in front of the Capitol, police report that dozens of individuals were arrested for the civil disobedience. Many people gathered for this event either to participate or to come and see what a protest looks like. Those who took part in this had the chance to exercise a freedom that many other countries do not have.

“As Americans it’s great that we have the right to do something like this, even if it doesn’t change things right away,” Sheehan said when asked about the outcome of the protest.

“We have the freedom of speech and expression, and it was clearly represented during the march. That is the beauty of America, we are allowed to make our voice heard when we feel that an injustice is occurring, no matter if the masses are right or wrong on the matter,” Moore said.

Jonathan Barnett

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