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by dove on bayonet
Monday May 5th, 2003 2:35 PM
May 2003 marks the 33rd Annual Commemoration of American antiwar students being killed by National Guard Troops. Thirty three years ago President Nixon ordered U.S. Troops into Cambodia... widening the war against Vietnam... campuses all across the U.S. shut down in protest.
On May 4th, 1970, four white students were killed by National Guardsmen during antiwar protests on the Ohio Kent State University campus. On May 14th, 1970, African American students at Jackson State University in Mississippi staged demonstrations against the war and racial discrimination. Mississippi National Guardsmens and Police fired over 460 rounds at a student dormitory... killing two students and wounding 12 others. Today that dorm is still pock marked with 160 bullet holes.

This May 4th, 2003, Kent State students held their annual ceremony honoring the antiwar movement's martyrs, but they also addressed America's latest Vietnam... Iraq. Several hundred students against the U.S. occupation of Iraq attempted to march off campus and were immediately set upon by Riot Police, who made dozens of arrests under the pretext that the antiwar march "had no permit." The Cleveland Independent Media Center provides multiple first hand reports (with pictures), on the 33rd Kent State Commemorative events. Access Cleveland Indy, at:

Also... Cleveland's mainstream newspaper, "The Plain Dealer", filed a good report on the Kent demonstration. That article follows:

Dozen arrested at Kent anti-war rally
The Plain Dealer - 05/05/03

Kent- Police in riot gear arrested a dozen protesters at an anti-war rally that spilled off the Kent State University campus yesterday, hours after a peaceful commemoration of the May 4, 1970, student shootings.

About 200 police from Kent and surrounding communities stopped a group that police estimated numbered between 250 to 300 marchers after they left campus, arresting 12 on charges of disorderly conduct. Police said additional charges and arrests may follow after the incident is reviewed. None of those arrested were Kent State students.

The arrests ended a tense day of uncertainty. A State Highway Patrol helicopter buzzed overhead for hours because police feared an anti-war protest would turn disruptive. The demonstration was scheduled in conjunction with the university's official memorial to the four students killed during a Vietnam War protest 33 years ago.

University spokesman Ron Kirksey called it unfortunate that the commemoration day was marred by arrests. "There's always a group that wants to exploit the day and get attention," Kirksey said.

The Kent State Anti-War Committee planned the separate rally to oppose the recent war and actions in Iraq. Last week, however, the university's Office of Campus Life revoked the group's registration amid worries that the rally might attract violence. The committee decided to hold the rally anyway, meeting at 3 p.m. on Manchester Field. "It's planned as a peaceful thing," Chris Fox, a Kent student and rally organizer, said earlier this week. "The only violence we expect is from the police."

The group banged on drums, pans and buckets and made anti-government and pro-peace speeches for several hours before beginning to march through campus. Students read poems at the sites where Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer and William Schroeder were fatally shot by Ohio National Guardsmen in 1970. The group then continued, chanting: "Bush, you liar! Your number has expired!" As the group approached the edge of campus, police told marchers that it was against the law to walk in the street. "Anyone on the street is subject to arrest," a policeman warned.

The group continued into the city and made it about three blocks, to East Main Street and University Drive, before police wearing helmets and armed with tear gas, pellet guns, clubs and shields attempted to deter them and direct them back toward the campus. In response, the protesters retreated to a sidewalk and began chanting and yelling at the police.

Suddenly, police began handcuffing select protesters, pushing some to the ground. A woman who had been crying softly on the commons hours earlier during speeches honoring the students killed in 1970 was handcuffed and led to a mini-bus waiting to cart protesters away. The remaining protesters eventually wandered back onto campus and dispersed after another warning from police.

The war in Iraq added an extra sense of immediacy, sadness and frustration for many at the annual commemoration. More than 300 people attended the official memorial, which was peppered with speeches about similarities between 1970 and now. "The feeling we have about this war parallels the feelings of many Vietnam protesters," said Adria Crannell, a Kent junior and co-chair of the task force that organized the official memorial. Featured speakers included activists Kerry Kennedy Cuomo, the niece of President Kennedy, and Jello Biafra, former singer for the Dead Kennedys punk band. Rosanne "Chic" Canfora was 19 in 1970 and remembers crouching behind a car in the parking lot during the shootings. "It makes me cry to stand here and know once again that the topic on this commons is war," she said.
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protestprotesterTuesday May 6th, 2003 7:09 PM

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