Anti-war protesters turned out in large numbers on Saturday, Jan. 27 to protest the ongoing war in Iraq. Among the thousands of participants who gathered in San Francisco were Mills sophomores Daniella Matthew-Trigg, Alison Lowrie, and Asha Loupy, and freshwoman Rachel Dorney.
Lowrie sported a sign proclaiming “Fighting for peace is like f*****g for virginity!”
“It’s important that our generation speak out against violence and acts of terrorism,” said Lowrie.
The protesters hope that their actions will encourage an immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq. Many expressed their resistance to Bush’s recent announcement that over 21,500 additional troops will be phased in.
Matthew-Trigg has been a part of anti-war group World Can’t Wait, an organization popular among high school and college students since the Vietnam War. One of the most popular attractions was World Can’t Wait’s float, a large display on wheels that included a man wearing a mask of President Bush, imprisoned in a jail cell. Placed above the cell was a sign that read “Impeach Bush for War Crimes.”
Prior to Saturday’s protest, Matthew-Trigg distributed flyers around campus and posted on student-news to get more people involved. “This started out as an illegal war, and Americans were lied to. It’s a mass chaos, and increasing troops will push things off the deep end,” said Matthew-Trigg.
Matthew-Trigg said that her long time friend, Gabe Montoya, who currently serves in the army, will probably be sent to fight in Iraq. She said that Montoya believes in defeating Iraq, but disagrees with the war.
“I’m really scared for him,” she said.
Loupy arrived early to stand by fellow Protesters who beat drums and rhythmically shouted the chant “Wage Peace!” This feeling is what drew the Mills woman into the rally.
“I think it’s a really great atmosphere because so many people are out there speaking their minds,” she said.
The San Francisco event was tied to a larger anti-war event taking place the same day in Washington D.C.
Cars honked along Market Street in support of the crowd: residents, peace activists, students and even one man dressed in a pink fairy costume who held up a sign “We’re tired of your BUSH-s**t!”
Johanna Palliet, 24, of San Francisco, an intern organizer of Codepink said, “We need to strengthen our civil society and people at the grassroots movement. It’s really our responsibility to be involved.”
Hollering for donations was U.C. Davis graduate, Jenny Olson. Olson, who is a socialist and was an activist student in Palestine in 2001, sympathizes with the Iraqi people.
Olson thinks the U.S. occupation of Iraq will further the agenda to expand their empire. “I think Iraqis should have a right for self-determination,” she said.
Standing on the sidelines was Trent Downes, a student of San Francisco State University, who supported the war in Iraq.
“Sending additional troops helps us finish the job we started and sends the message that if they attack us, they can’t get away with it,” said Downes. “Like World War II, there are some wars for good reason.”
Perhaps the youngest protester that day was Drian Kaufman, 4, a daughter of a social studies teacher at Lincoln High School in San Francisco. Standing about two feet tall, she held up the sign: “Fund for our schools, not war.”
“War should stop,” Drian said in her soft voice.
Many Protesters have faith that their efforts will eventually end the war.
Ben Rosen, a junior high teacher in Los Altos and member of World Can’t Wait, organizes teach-ins at schools.
“Mission of a Generation,” a teach-in, is planned for Mills on Monday, Feb. 5 in the Faculty Lounge at 6 p.m. Guest speakers include: Liam Maeden, an Iraq war veteran, and Sunsara Taylor, a co-founder of World Can’t Wait.
“It might not always seem effective at the moment, but our goal is to bring more people into the political sphere to get them involved and doing what is necessary to drive out an immoral and corrupt regime,” said Rosen.
Matthew-Trigg surmised the mood: “One voice may not matter as much, but millions will.”