“One, two, three, four this is not a legal war!” was the cry of the roughly 200 high school students who protested in front of the Ann Arbor Federal Building yesterday.
The rally, one of many protests held in front of the Federal Building, included high school students from Ann Arbor Community High School and was joined by students from the surrounding Pioneer and Plymouth high schools.
Community senior Beatrice Nathan said the rally was worthwhile.
“I think it (went) really well. From Community alone, over half of the school is out here. It’s great just to be here and show we have an opinion and don’t support war. It is important we’re not apathetic and we know what is going on,” Nathan said.
Nathan said she hopes this rally will show other Americans there is resistance to policies and the majority opinion does not rest with the belief that “dropping bombs is the only option.”
“There are other opinions, besides those of pro-war. Many young people don’t believe in this war and it is those young people that are being expected to carry it out. If they don’t believe it, it is not worth fighting for,” Nathan said.
Evelyn Hollenshead, an organizer for the event, also voiced anti-war sentiment.
“This event is to get our voice out that everyone is not for war. Anti-war voices get bogged down by polls. But it is important to show that students won’t just let this happen without mobilizing for what they care about,” Hollenshead said.
But observing Ann Arbor resident James Hendricks said the protest was in vain.
“I think it is kind of hopeless, really. It (the war) is already rolling. It’s not going to make a difference – no one’s going to listen. (Protests) have never worked before,” Hendricks said.
Hendricks said he felt the protest was made up of a lot of students who are not as informed as they should be on the issues surrounding the Iraq conflict.
Still, LSA junior Rebecca Brown, who also watched the protest, said she was impressed by it.
“I think it is great. It is one of the biggest turnouts I’ve seen for a long time for a protest. People say this age group does not care about war, but this is a true testament that they care and are doing something about it,” Brown said.
However, there was a handful of pro-war Pioneer students who showed up later in the rally for a counter-protest.
“These people can speak their minds but so can we,” anti-war protester Pioneer senior Sean Sullivan said.
“I support the war because there are a lot of people being oppressed in Iraq. We (America) should speak up for oppressed people,” Sullivan said.
He said that in Ann Arbor, his pro-war stance on Iraq makes him part of the minority. But he feels this is an asset because it forces him to be vocal about his beliefs.
“I think the protesters are ignorant and the only reason they are here is because their parents told them that Bush was dumb. I feel that they are uninformed and are doing it for attention and to belong to something,” Pioneer sophomore Kara Sullivan said.
Pioneer sophomore Caitlin Kurtz said she respects the opinions of the anti-war protesters as long as they respect hers.
“However, during the rally, protesters openly came up to me just to ridicule me,” Kurtz said.