Archive for March, 2008

Support Antiwar Protestors Arrested at UA!

March 4, 2008

Student Activists, Iraq Vet Arrested in “Mock Raid”

Four protesters were arrested and charged with “disorderly conduct” after members of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) staged a mock-raid with Jason Hurd, member of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW).

Hurd, along with members of Tuscaloosa- SDS and Asheville-SDS, were detained for over four hours on Friday, Feb. 29th, before being taken away in handcuffs to Tuscaloosa City Jail. During interrogation, UA-PD insinuated the protesters were terrorists and threatened to hand the case over the F.B.I. They bail was set for a total of $2,500. The non-students were also charged with trespassing and are now banned from university property.

The University has already released a statement condemning the action, claiming it “may have been alarming to those in the area” and that they “will not tolerate behavior that mimics a true emergency on our campus.” Several news sources have reported that the University plans on launching an investigation against the Tuscaloosa chapter of SDS, a officially registered student organization.

“If you are one of those people who was frightened, you had a glimpse of what it feels like to be an Iraqi man, woman or child who experiences things like this and worse everyday,” said J VanBolt, a UA student who witnessed the mock raid. “That is life for people in Iraq.”

We, Tuscaloosa-SDS, condemn the actions of the University, which we feel was not only exaggerated, but politically motivated. We demand that all charges be dropped. We want an apology from the University for their attempts to equate protesting with terrorism and violence. We refuse to be intimidated and harassed on our own campus.

We are urging supporters to contact the University, to let them know their will not be tolerated! We have a right to protest the unjust and illegal occupation of Iraq. We have a right to make students aware of the immense suffering the U.S. occupation is causing the Iraqi people. Please help us put pressure on the University to DROP ALL CHARGES NOW!

PROTEST IS NOT A CRIME! U.S. OUT OF IRAQ!!!!

In solidarity,

SDS-Tuscaloosa

For more information, contact
Jenae Stainer, 661.477.4333, jnstainer@bama.ua.edu
Chapin Gray, 251.605.7780, chapinrose@gmail.com

To show support for the four arrested, you can call the University President, Dr. Robert Witt, at (205) 348-5320 and demand that all charges be dropped. You can also contact Tim Hebson, Dean of Students and Director of Judicial Affairs thebson@sa.ua.edu or Todd Borst, Assistant Director of Judicial Affairs tborst@sa.ua.edu. You can also sign our online petition- http://www.petitiononline.com/tusc2612/petition.html.

If you would like to donate money directly to the SDS-Tuscaloosa account to help cover court costs, click here: https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_flow&SESSION=7gYwSgAZBkT08gyfNH8kaAv95Eu2nWt2jxou2uzhk_55r92El8RTGlR_Qpe&dispatch=5885d80a13c0db1f35bed810ca29224194ca8b1b097b67190a72a7a4da266138

Also, Jason Hurd from IVAW will be speaking in Tuscaloosa on March 26th, his scheduled court date. Time/locaton: TBA.

Jason Hurd from IVAW, UNC-A and UofA SDS members arrested

March 1, 2008

Earlier today, members of the Tuscaloosa chapter of Students for a Democratic Society, along with Jeremy Miller from UNCA-SDS and Jason Hurd from the Asheville chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) staged a mock raid. SDS-Tuscaloosa invited Hurd to their campus to speak on his experiences in Iraq, and the mock raid (a theatrical reenactment of a military raid of Iraqi civilians) was intended to demonstrate to students the human cost of the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Weeks earlier, Hurd led a similar action at UNC-A, which received much attention on their campus and their community (see one local paper’s article “Vets shed light on Iraq service”- http://citizen-times.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=200880211101).

However, after the mock-raid was staged, and Hurd spoke to onlookers, explaining purpose of the action, about a dozen cops surrounded four of the participants, and after questioning, took them into a closed room in the Student Services center, where they were detained for over four hours, without being allowed contact with others or a lawyer, before finally being charged with disorderly conduct and taken to city jail, where their bail was set for a total of $2,500.

We, along with members of the Tuscaloosa community, have condemned the University’s actions, seeing the response of campus police as not only excessive and unwarranted, but also as an act of intimidation that essentially attempts to deny students the right to protest. We see “street theater” as a way to creatively, vividly, and poignantly demonstrate the effects of the occupation, and do not apologize for speaking out against the war.

We, as students, feel that our rights to free speech and expression have been violated, and we shudder to think of what kind of society we live in where students, holding harmless protests are met with indefinite detention and arrest.

We do not apologize for our protest being disruptive. The U.S. invasion of Iraq was disruptive. The post-traumatic stress countless US soldiers experience upon their return is disruptive. Our goal is to end the occupation of Iraq, a war waged for economic and political control over the Middle East, a war that has caused the deaths of over 600,000 Iraqis, and displaced millions from their homes.

We have a right to protest peacefully what we feel is unjust. Help us defend our rights as students- whether letting the University know their actions are unacceptable, helping with bail costs, or sending statements of solidarity, your support helps us carry on this fight against censorship, intimidation, and harassment by our own University.

DROP ALL CHARGES!

For more information, contact
Jenae Stainer, 661.477.4333
Chapin Gray, 251.605.7780