On October 27, hundreds of Howard University students greeted Laura Bush with a militant protest against the war in Iraq, the criminally negligent and racist conduct of the federal government in response to Hurricane Katrina and cuts in education.
Holding signs that read, "2000 Dead, End Occupation: Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti…, Money for Education Not War," the students began their demonstration at 11am in advance of Laura Bush's arrival to the Howard University campus.
The demonstration was called by Youth and Student A.N.S.W.E.R. and Cimarrones, a progressive Black Student Union of Caribbeans, Central and South Americans. The demonstration was supported by various other campus organizations such as Howard University Student Association (HUSA), Howard Amnesty International and Ubiquity.
The demonstration turned into a confrontation as university officials working with Secret Service and DC Police threatening to arrest the students unless they moved. "They are trying to force us to disperse or at least move back 30 feet, but we in the Black community have been told to move for 300 years," said Eugene Puryear, a coordinator of Youth and Student A.N.S.W.E.R and Howard sophomore.
The Howard University demonstration was one of hundreds that took place in cities, towns, college campuses and high schools across the country.
As the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq hits the 2,000 figure, A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition members and supporters and other organizations came out in local protests against the illegal and criminal war and occupation in Iraq. These local protests came on the heels of the September 24 demonstration, when more than 300,000 people surrounded the White House in a sea of protest. On September 24, the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition also held large-scale protests in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle.
The gruesome number of U.S. war dead pales in comparison to the loss of life suffered by Iraqis. Public opinion in the United States has decisively turned against the war in Iraq just as it turned against the war in Vietnam three decades ago. U.S. troops should be brought out of Iraq immediately. The people of Iraq should be paid reparations for the wholesale destruction of their country and the staggering loss of human life. Bush, Cheney and other officials in the Bush administration should be held accountable for their criminal conduct.