Anti-war marchers criticized, supported by passing motorists

by Seth Woehrle

An anti-war march that started on the University’s West Bank ended in a conference room in Sen. Paul Wellstone’s offices on University Avenue on Friday afternoon.

The march, organized by the Working Group for the Understanding of Sept. 11, was an 11-member counterpoint to the 92 percent of Americans who support some sort of military action, according to a recent Gallup poll.

Nine members affiliated with he unofficial University student group gathered outside Anderson Hall. They held 50 letters, hand-written during the their teach-ins last week.

The letters, presumably containing students’ pro-peace statements, were to be delivered to Wellstone’s staffers while at the same time denouncing, with a march through campus, the Bush administration’s war preparations.

As the small group quietly made its way east on Washington Avenue, they handed out flyers and gained two sympathetic students, Maren Hanson and Jill Davis.

“We were thinking it would be good to doing something saying that we’re nonviolent and we don’t approve of war,” said Hanson, a CLA senior.

“The media is talking about how everyone wants a military intervention,” said Davis, a senior studying anthropology and biology. “Our point of view is not heard enough.”

Along the way, there were those who supported the group with clapping and peace signs and others who sped by with loud honk and shouted obscenities.

At Washington and Huron avenues, the marchers opted to take a bus rather than walk the remaining mile.

While they waited on the corner holding signs reading “Vietnam all over again?” and “Bombing civilians is always wrong,” Mike Engstrom and Venora Hung walked past.

“Young people don’t get heard,” said Hung, a senior in the Carlson School of Management and student representative to the Board of Regents. “I think it’s really good that we’re coming together.”

Upon arriving at Wellstone’s offices, they were ushered into a conference room where Connie Lewis, Wellstone’s state director, and Tom Lapic, deputy state director, listened to student’s concerns and accepted their letters, promising to pass both on to Wellstone.

“I would like to thank you for coming here,” said Lewis, who left the possibility open of Wellstone participating in a teach-in. “We will share this conversation with him, you can count on that.”


Seth Woehrle welcomes comments at [email protected]