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Students head to Iraq war protest

Sonia Rao | Friday, January 26, 2007

Thirty Notre Dame students will join herds of protesters Saturday in Washington D.C. to speak out against the war in Iraq, three days following U.S. President George W. Bush’s State of the Union address.

The protest is sponsored by the United for Peace and Justice coalition, and will be complemented by musical performances, workshops and guest speakers.

Sophomore Michael Angulo, vice president of the Progressive Student Alliance, attended a war protest September of his freshman year and decided to organize a trip for Notre Dame students.

“At the end of last semester I found that the United for Peace and Justice [coalition] was organizing a national protest in D.C. … I talked to some friends and there was some interest in getting vans and Notre Dame students to go,” he said.

Vans will be leaving from Notre Dame starting at 9:30 a.m. Friday to make the nine and a half hour trip to Washington. The march will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday, weaving around various governmental buildings and stopping in front of the White House, Angulo said.

In addition to the march, keynote speakers will include the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins and Jane Fonda, according to the United for Peace and Justice Web site.

Angulo said he was excited to see Notre Dame students interested in activism.

“I’m really glad to see that more people, especially moderate middle-class America, are really showing their opposition. … [The protest] is going to bring a lot of different groups together whether it’s the people who were against the war from the beginning or the people who thought the war wasn’t handled well and based on faulty information.”

For freshman Laura Lauck, the tipping point was learning that President Bush believed “the war will be over by the time he’s done with his presidency, which is two years from now,” and realized two years was too long to wait.

“The United States needs to get done what they have to get done, but they need to relinquish some of their power to the United Nations or some other international organization,” she said.

Freshman Dan Savage has a more personal reason for traveling to Washington, as a family friend recently died in Iraq. He also has other motives, however.

“I’m doing it because I think it’s important to remind the President that … he didn’t have the majority of the population to win his presidency and that to act with such disregard to opposition without consideration of bipartisanship at all was wrong,” he said.