More than 200 students rally against Iraq War on campus

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At least six people were arrested for offenses stemming from the protest.

More than 200 University students joined Students for a Democratic Society on Thursday for a rally and march around campus, meant to mark the five-year anniversary of the Iraq War.

The two-hour protest started at the Coffman Union and wrapped around campus, down University Avenue and ended at Washington Avenue and Ontario Street.

At 1:48 p.m., the Anti-War Committee sent a news release saying 13 protesters had entered the Army recruiting office on Washington Avenue, “disrupting its recruitment functions and refusing to leave.” Police have not yet verified that information.

Police from the University, Minneapolis and St. Paul were on hand to assist in crowd control, on bicycles and on horseback. At least six protesters were arrested.

At the recruiting office, Macalester students gathered to shut down the center. Student protesters used bike locks to chain themselves to the facility’s doors.

About 10 Macalester students chained themselves to the center’s doors and wouldn’t speak to media or police.

Joe Schweigert said he came to show support for his fellow Macalester students.

“Especially after five years, it’s important for dissident opinions to come forward,” he said.

Schweigert said closing the center for one day probably wouldn’t result in big changes, but added that it was “a very important figurative gesture.”

“The fact that there are kids willing and able to sit out here says a lot,” he said.

SDS member Tracy Molm said the Macalester chapter’s demonstration was a separate action, but that the two groups had been in contact about the events.

“We support each other, but we planned to keep a sense of time and space separation,” Molm said.

There have been protests like this one for the last three years, University Police Chief Greg Hestness said.

Three years ago, between 800 and 1,000 people protested, he said.

Police duties also centered on traffic control as the group moved through the streets. Traffic in both directions on Washington Avenue, between Oak and Ontario streets, was shut down briefly.

Police officers on bicycles followed the protest as it blocked off portions of University and Washington avenues, but did not attempt to stop marchers.

“You pick your battles,” Hestness said.

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