Charles Nailen/The Hoya Opponents of a war against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq gathered in Washington, D.C., Saturday for a march past the National Cathedral.

Over 150 Georgetown students participated in the anti-war rally on the National Mall and the subsequent march last Saturday, Jan. 18. Campus organizations such as College Democrats and GU Peace Action mobilized groups to protest the potentially impending U.S. war on Iraq.

Several busloads of students left the university, with most going straight to the Mall and another dropping off protestors at a feeder rally starting at Union Station. Afterwards, participants marched behind the Capitol Building and down to the Navy Yard in a show of solidarity.

Saturday’s events were sponsored by the International ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) and supported by thousands of additional organizations. Demonstrations were held in conjunction in other major American cities and at least 30 other nations worldwide including Japan, Ireland, Egypt, Spain, Argentina, South Africa and Jordan.

“Today’s demonstrations shattered the myth of consensus for war,” Mara Verheyden-Hilliard of the Partnership for Civil Justice, one of the ANSWER groups, said in a Jan. 18 press release on the ANSWER website. “Throughout the world, demonstrations today showed the kind of people’s power it’s going to take to stop the war in its tracks.”

“It was really orderly; a very peaceful protest,” College Democrats member Chris Wooley (COL ’06) said. “I think I saw only one person arrested because he was purposely annoying the police.” Wooley is a HOYA staff writer.

Speakers at the rally included Rev. Jesse Jackson, Representative John Conyers (D-Mich.) and former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark. The event went as arranged with very few exceptions. Participants in Saturday’s activities reported that there was a large variety of people ranging from the very young to retiree-aged individuals.

” I don’t think the radicals overshadowed the event, they were just one of many different types of people there,” Wooley said.

Counter-protest presence was limited in numbers, GU peace action member Dunya Cope (SFS ’06) said.

“The event was extremely successful in terms of having a humongous outpouring of support . as far as you could see was solid people,” Cope said. “It’s important to have bodies of people against war. It’s good for people to know there are thousands of other people who support their opinions on peace.”

Georgetown University Peace Action, a member of the Student Peace Action network, was formed this past October.

“We oppose violence in all forms and now the war on Iraq is the obvious issue,” Cope said.

Others at the protest felt that, while completely disregarding the option of going to war is extreme, war is currently not the correct decision.

“I do not think we have strong enough evidence that he [Saddam Hussein] has the things we claim he does,” Wooley said. “I think if we had more evidence and support, the question of going to war would be more feasible.”

Other campus organizations, including the Muslim Student Association and Amnesty International, also attended the anti-war events.

“After seeing 3,000 people die in the World Trade Center, I have a problem with us inflicting thousands of more casualties for no reason,” Wooley said.

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