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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Anti-Bush rally draws 100 to Mall

    Undeclared sophomore Santiny Orozco leads tortured prisoner Kyle Roberts, a biology freshman, through the crowd at the Bush Step Down rally yesterday afternoon on the UA Mall.  The event was organized by Refuse and Resist and the World Cant Wait.
    Undeclared sophomore Santiny Orozco leads ‘tortured prisoner’ Kyle Roberts, a biology freshman, through the crowd at the ‘Bush Step Down’ rally yesterday afternoon on the UA Mall. The event was organized by Refuse and Resist and the World Can’t Wait.

    Sarah Sowid’s house was destroyed in Lebanon this summer after Israeli soldiers threw a grenade into her family’s living room.

    Although no one was hurt, the three-generation home housed Sowid’s immediate family, her grandparents and her great-grandparents.

    The Bisbee High School senior and her family were forced to evacuate Lebanon weeks after the Israel-Lebanon war.

    On the UA Mall yesterday, Sowid joined about 100 people who voiced their opposition to President Bush’s administration and its policies.

    Sowid, 17, and her brother, Ali, 15, said they skipped school to attend the protest, in hopes that their story will place pressure on the Bush administration to make changes in foreign policy.

    “”I have seen and felt the direct effects of Bush’s foreign policy and his support of Israel,”” Sowid said. “”By backing one nation, he has destroyed another.””

    The protest, sponsored by student group Refuse and Resist under the World Can’t Wait campaign, included speeches by Africana studies professor Julian Kunnie, Refuse and Resist President Stephanie Woods and Margaret Sowid, Sarah’s mother, who shared her story with the crowd.

    “”This regime does not represent us,”” said Woods, a veterinary sciences senior.

    John Bierman, an electrical engineering freshman, said he also skipped class to voice his opposition against the newly approved Military Commissions Act of 2006.

    Bierman said he feels this act allows the military to declare anyone an alien in combat, effectively trumping the writ of habeus corpus.

    “”We are not a nation of torturers,”” Woods said in her address to the crowd.

    Three students stood in opposition to the protest.

    Michael Huston, a political science and philosophy junior and a former Arizona Daily Wildcat columnist, said he felt it was important to vocalize his support for the Bush administration.

    “”I am ashamed that students are out here to disgrace the U.S. military, one of the hardest-working and most efficient militaries in the world,”” said Huston, who is also Zona Zoo director. “”We came out here today to let people know that we do support the troops, the president and our freedom.””

    The protest today was one of about 250 across the United States and Canada, Woods said. Additional Arizona protests were planned in Flagstaff, Phoenix and Bisbee.

    Greg Knehans, a political science graduate student, said he took time out of working on his dissertation today to show his support for the protest and for Refuse and Resist.

    “”We need to change the political culture,”” Knehans said. “”It’s not just that we have a problem with Bush; we have a problem with the entire regime.””

    Knehans said he worries that those opposed to the Iraqi war and the Bush administration have begun feeling as though their efforts are unheard.

    “”We hope that (through this protest) people who are outraged about this will realize that they are not alone,”” Knehans said. “”There is something that can be done, there is a way to fight.””

    Toward the end of the protest, which continued to the downtown Federal Building in the afternoon, students wrote messages to the Bush administration on a white painted barrel.

    “”We will vote when you make our votes count – listen to our voices, we do exist!”” wrote Jon Carlson, a political science junior.

    Carlson said he attended the protest to add support to the movement.

    “”It is important for as many people to surround and unite,”” Carlson said. “”United we stand, divided we will fall, and this country has become massively divided.””

    Emily Colon, a pre-nursing sophomore, said she hoped people walked away from the protest feeling like they can create change without holding public office.

    Woods said she thinks the protest will fuel more opposition.

    “”This is not the end,”” Woods said, “”We expect that the people who came out today will continue to come out, bringing more opposition in the future.””

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