Fight breaks out amid Stadium Village protest

A dual protest over a near-campus recruiting office turned violent Thursday.

Protesters face off near a recruiting office on Washington Avenue Thursday. Two different groups were protesting each other.

Jules Ameel

Protesters face off near a recruiting office on Washington Avenue Thursday. Two different groups were protesting each other.

Two opposing protests in front of a Stadium Village military recruitment office Thursday âÄî totaling about 50 people âÄî led to at least one fight, though no arrests were made. Members of the Students for a Democratic Society and Anti-War Committee lined up on Washington Avenue to protest military involvement in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq Thursday morning. In opposition to the protest, students from the University of MinnesotaâÄôs College Republicans, as well as veterans and supporters, positioned themselves in front of the recruiting office, carrying signs accusing the original protestors of being unpatriotic. One sign read, âÄúEnd the war by winning it.âÄù The dual protest began peacefully, with each group trying to muffle the otherâÄôs message in a shouting competition from separate sides of the street. Eventually, members of SDS, the Anti-War Committee and supporters crossed the street to protest in front of the military recruiting office, resulting in a brief physical altercation between the opposing groups leaving a few protestors pushed to the ground. Police arrived on the scene shortly after, and the protest went on peacefully. Sgt. Ryan Mueller, a team leader at the recruiting station, said the recruiting office re-opened last week. He said no recruitments were made Thursday. ThursdayâÄôs protest was one of many demonstrations planned throughout the Twin Cities area in an effort to stop recruits from enlisting. Grace Kelley, member of SDS, said she joined the student group less than a year ago in preparation for the Republican National Convention protest. The English senior said the groupâÄôs slogan for ThursdayâÄôs protest was, âÄúRecruiters lie and people die.âÄù Holding a sign that read, âÄúSave students, stop recruiters,âÄù Linden Gawboy, who is currently unemployed, said she came to ThursdayâÄôs protest to show solidarity with the students who are against recruiting on campus. She said because the cost of tuition is rising, many students are being forced to turn to the military to help pay for expenses; she said she believes people should enter the military freely. Beth Englund attended ThursdayâÄôs protest. Her son, Rob Emerson, came home Wednesday night from serving in Afghanistan for the last six months. He is currently stationed in Cherry Point, N.C. Englund said although she thinks the people protesting have the right to voice their opinion, she feels the protest was disrespectful to the United States and those enlisted in the military. Chairman of College Republicans and political science senior Abdul-Rahman Magba-Kamara called those protesting military enlistment âÄúun-American.âÄù âÄúYou can be against the war, and thatâÄôs fine âĦ but you canâÄôt be against our military in general, that just doesnâÄôt make any sense,âÄù he said.