LARAMIE, Wyo. – A possible war against Iraq is not without opposition, and 12 CSU students and community members wanted to make sure Vice President Dick Cheney knew about it.
Joe Ramagli, a senior philosophy major, led the group here Friday to join a protest that swelled to over 200 before and during a discussion between Cheney and former U.S. Senator Alan Simpson at the University of Wyoming.
“We want to let the leaders of our country know that there’s a contingency in this country that’s against this war,” Ramagli said. “(Protesting) is part of democracy.”
Some of the students that took part in the protest were part of the campus organization Action Awareness. However, a couple people in the contingency were citizens from the community and some students were not members of the organization.
“I feel sorry that you guys still have to (protest against war),” said Becky Myers, a 52-year-old Loveland resident who joined the student protesters. Myers took part in Vietnam protests and is against all wars.
The contingency from CSU joined a rally of about 100 people at Washington Park near the UW campus two hours before the rally.
“Bush has caused more damage than any other president in my lifetime,” said Dick Wingerson, a 73-year-old Laramie resident.
During the rally, Ramagli talked about the need for being active against action in Iraq.
“(Cheney and Bush) talk about peace and back it up with bombs,” Ramagli said. “We have to be active in peace.”
The protesters then marched along the streets of Laramie carrying signs and shouting out slogans. A sampling of the signs included: democracy cannot be made by war, stop USA terror, no blood for oil and where is the patriot in the Patriot Act?
“One, two, three, four – we don’t want your stinking war!” The protesters shouted as they marched the streets. “Drop Cheney, not bombs!” The crowd grew in numbers as the approached UW’s Arena-Auditorium, where the discussion was taking place.
During the march, some cars honked at the protestors and made the peace sign with their fingers in support. A few peopled yelled at them as they passed, but the protest largely went without incident.
When the group reached the Arena-Auditorium, they were directed across the street behind some barricades.
“Free speech behind the dotted lines!” Ramalgi yelled to the group.
The protestors then shouted slogans and contemplated spelling out “no war” with their bodies so Cheney could see when he flew in by helicopter. Police, press and patrons of the discussion watched without incident.
“Ain’t no power like the power of the people, and the power of the people don’t stop!” The protestors continued shouting.
President Bush was also in Denver on Friday and may have lowered the numbers for the Cheney protest, said Jordan Marsh, a freshman art major.
“(But) we got a lot more people than we planned,” Marsh said.
Mike Cox, a freshman forestry major, took part in his first protest and said it was interesting and empowering.
“I don’t have a huge opinion (on Iraq) but I know war is definitely not the answer,” Cox said.
The CSU group put black tape over their mouths in the shape of Xs when they entered the public discussion, a move joined by other protesters. Other protestors made T-shirts with the words “NO WAR ON IRAQ.”
After the speech, Ramagli said it was the same old rhetoric from Cheney.
“He never talked about creating an agreement (with Iraq),” Ramagli said. “He’s trying to create an American Empire.”