Temple University students rallied at the Bell Tower to protest a possible war on Iraq last week.
The rally, which took place on Wednesday, Nov. 20, was organized by Temple’s Radical Education Collective in coordination with the national anti-war organization Not In Our Name and drew around 200 people at the Bell Tower.
Students gathered to listen as protesters spoke out against a war on Iraq and accused the United States of other acts of violence and oppression.
“The point of [the protest] today is to say ‘not in our name,'” said REC leader Chris Illum. “We’re taking responsibility for what our government does in our name and standing in solidarity with people of the world.”
Students standing on the Bell Tower platform held up signs with pictures of the Earth and a number of anti-war slogans.
Students and other speakers were called up to speak with a bullhorn. The University restricted their amplified sound time to 30 minutes.
The protesters spoke about Iraq as well as American action in the Philippines, North Korea, Yemen and Afghanistan.
“Temple is making a stand with Not In Our Name against the war on the world,” said Illum.
One speaker said that the United States was an empire that was looking to destroy countries like Iraq.
“We’re up against a strategic combination of military might and economic power, it’s called imperialism,” said Kitty Bryant.
A leader from the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade talked about economics, government invasions of privacy and unjust wars. Her frequent obscenities and strong rhetoric drew many cheers and yells from the crowd.
Not everyone in the crowd agreed with her rally cries, however.
“If you don’t like it, then leave,” one spectator said in response to her denunciations of the government.
Illum denounced what he called the roundup of Arab people by the U.S. government.
“We’re not allowing our government to round up our brothers and sisters and silence them by putting them in jail,” said Illum.
He said that the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service held a Palestinian man in jail for longer than the six-month limit on such detentions.
After the rally at the Bell Tower, the students marched south on Broad Street to join with protestors from seven other area universities and two high schools for another rally at City Hall.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported last week that the marches from Temple and the University of Pennsylvania disrupted traffic along their routes. Penn students walked east on Market Street to join the other schools. Marchers from Temple made up the largest contingent of the 350 people present at the City Hall rally.
Kim Teplitzky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org