Monday, March 31, 2008

Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors

Or, Are We Here To Protect and Serve?

There was a war protest last week.

I walked out of my building to meet friends for lunch on Thursday and ran into what seemed like a great many police. Had a chat with one of them. Not too pleasant a guy. Seemed pretty defensive.

Nearly forty years ago I was on the roof of Kolthoff Hall - the new chemistry building at that time. There I witnessed a police riot in response to another anti-war protest. Police were beating students mercilessly with clubs - students who were simply limp and prone on the grass, offering no opposition.

The scene was Orwellian forty years ago and it was again last Thursday.

And so it goes.

From today's Minnesota Daily

I was at the anti-war rally at noon in front of Coffman on Thursday, and I listened to several impassioned and eloquent speeches. Thank you to all of the student groups who joined together to organize the rally, and to the students and staff who stood together in an intimidating atmosphere.

Why did we need so many police officers to keep an eye on a few hundred people? Is this what free speech on a college campus looks like?

15 bicycle cops in yellow vests milling around the East entrance of Coffman Union

2 mounted police officers on the grass in front of Nils Hasselmo Hall

1 marked police car parked on the grass across Washington Ave. (between the footbridges)

• 1 unmarked police car parked in front of Ford Hall

1 helicopter overhead

One of the speakers quoted George Orwell, which seems even spookier now.

Renee DeLong
University graduate student

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