Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Activists protest 5 years of war

[media-credit name=’ALLI LENZ/Herald photo’ align=’alignright’ width=’336′]Protest_AL[/media-credit]

More than 100 Madison activists of all ages gathered around
the Capitol last week in a five-day protest marking the fifth anniversary of
the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Miles Kristan, an anti-war activist, organized events held
at the Capitol and State Street Saturday through Wednesday, with assistance
from the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice, and the Madison Area Peace


Events included rallies ? attracting more than 150 people on
Wednesday ? marches up and down State Street, a silent vigil to honor victims
of the war, an event at the Orpheum for Iraq Veterans Against the War, marching
in the St. Patrick?s Day parade and showcasing a 20-foot peace-train float with
an eight-foot-tall statue of President Bush in an orange jumpsuit.

?The idea of the float was the justice of [Bush] going to
jail for his crimes,? Kristan said.

On Wednesday, a group of 40 activists went to the office of U.S.
Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., and demanded to speak with the senator.

Kristan said the group stayed in the office long enough to
get a statement approved by Kohl, until Homeland Security came and Kristan led
the protestors out of the office so they would not be arrested.

According to Kristan, the five days of protests achieved
their goal to make statewide and national news.

?Thousands of people saw us,? he said. ?That was our big
goal? because we feel that Madison has a great anti-war history, and so we
wanted to properly commemorate the 4,000 dead U.S. soldiers, the half a million
Iraqis and also this anniversary.?

City Council President Mike Verveer, District 4, said he spoke with
Kristan in the days before the protests, begging him not to get arrested and
offering advice on legal issues surrounding protests. No arrests were made in
the five days of protests.

Verveer said he gives Kristan credit for stepping forward
and bringing this war to the public?s attention.

?Madison had a well-deserved reputation for being a hotbed
of political protest, and we?ve kind of lost that,? Verveer said. ?Students
don?t seem as captivated by the tragic war that is taking place in Iraq. I
think [the protest] is totally appropriate.?

Kristan said he and his co-organizers also handed out
leaflets, ?chalked the hell out of State Street? and sent out mass e-mails
through anti-war networks.

For Kristan, this sort of political activism is necessary to
get troops out of Iraq and to end the war.

?It?s going to require that the people get politically
involved and not put all their hope and faith in any politician,? he added.
?This protest is not the first and will not be the last; (we) will continue to
protest until this war is over.?

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