As the world continues to learn more about coronavirus and its spread, it's vital to stay up-to-date on the latest developments. However, it's also important to make sure that the information being distributed is from credible sources. To that end, Between The Lines has compiled, [...]
By Cheryl Zupan and Kelly Peters
ANN ARBOR – More than 1,500 people drummed, chanted and marched through downtown Ann Arbor Thursday evening in a “peace march” and student rally.
The protests came on the heels of President George W. Bush’s came television announcement at 10:15 p.m., March 19 that the United States had begun its attack on Iraq.
The march, which preempted a 6 p.m. Queer Visibility event at U-M, was attended by a vocal gay contingent.
Glenn Klipp, executive director of Washtenaw Rainbow Action Project in Ann Arbor, said people in the lgbt community were especially concerned about the war.
“The war reflects an attitude of making judgments before all of the facts are known,” Klipp said. “The war is perpetrating a broad sense of intolerance in our society.”
Klipp said many visitors to WRAP are expressing anti-war concerns.
“It is estimated that $120 billion will be spent in this war,” he said. “That’s over $500 for every man, woman, and child in our country. This will take away money that would normally be spent on human services in our country. And the marginalized populations will be the first to lose human services funding when money is tight.”
Angie Burke, a WRAP volunteer, agreed with Klipp that the war was wrong. “I agree that we have to get rid of Saddam,” she said. “But not with a war. This will have a very negative impact on a lot of people.”
John Michael Kern, 20, a U of M history and political science major, voiced his opposition to the war as well.
“I am so against this war. It is a horrible, horrible slaughter of many innocent people. It is interesting that the president did not participate in Vietnam. Also, out of over 300 members of congress, only one of them has a child in the military,” continued Kern.
Martin Contreras, co-owner of the aut Bar, added to Kern’s anti-war statement. “I don’t like being the aggressor. And I don’t buy everything the Bush administration is feeding us,” he said.
Another co-owner of the aut Bar, Keith Orr, agreed. “Once again, now that we are at war, it will be okay for gays and lesbians to serve in the military,” he said. “And as soon as the hostility ceases, the military will once again start kicking out these hard-working, loyal and talented servicemen.”
Derek Calzadillas, a U-M student and employee of the Ann Arbor Shelter Association explained why he joined the peace march Thursday. “I think this war is surprising and unjust. I am out here protesting because I believe the anti-war feelings of our community need to be heard by others.”
According to an officer at the protest, the Ann Arbor Police prepared for the march Thursday morning. The officer said he was asked to volunteer to stay late and to check and make sure he had a gas mask on hand. In addition, city officials placed bags over downtown parking meters to keep the streets clear in anticipation of an anti-war march.
Before the 6 p.m. march, more than 400 high school and university students gathered in the Diag outside the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library protesting the war.
Alive with drumming and shouts, the contingency, lead by high school students, made their way into the gathering space.
“I’m anti-war for moral reasons,” said David Ward, Community High School student, which had a walk-out in protest. “All we’re doing is saving oil fields, and we have not considered all of our other options. This is horrible and not something we need to be doing.”
“There shouldn’t be a war on innocent people,” said Eastern Michigan University student Sarah Ferguson. “We can not achieve peace through violence.”
Yet, among the mass was a small contingent of pro-war supporters with their American flags and the state of Michigan flag, waging their own silent stand-in for the troops invading the borders of Iraq that day.
“I hope we’re here to support our troops that are fighting right now,” said Doug Tietz, senior at U of M. “It’s a shame that so many people want to attack America.”
Kara Sullivan, dual enrollee at Community and Pioneer High Schools in Ann Arbor, agreed: “I’m here to voice my opinion, and I feel I’m in the minority here… Only in Ann Arbor.”