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News and reports

December 2, 2005 | Pages 10 and 11

No to war and occupation
Defend free speech

Fight police brutality
By Rayyan Ghuma

COLLEGE PARK, Md.--University of Maryland undergraduates from Community Roots, the Black Student Union, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Peace Forum, the International Socialist Organization and many other student associations protested against police brutality November 21.

Community Roots, a coalition of various student activist groups, organized this walkout in response to the November 11 police assault of George Smalls and Mallory Watkins, two African American students.

Officers broke up Smalls and Watkins' weekend party at their campus apartment due to "excessive noise." The two students quickly and peacefully cooperated with police demands. But officers still felt the need to assault, mace and arrest them, but not before they put a gun to Watkin's head.

Students mobilized in defense of Smalls and Watkins and walked out of Monday classes. Chaz Romeo Ball, the second vice president of the NAACP Maryland chapter and a member of Community Roots, addressed the crowd of 150 students.

"Today we have three central goals," shouted Ball, "to bring awareness to the racial injustice within the nation, to expose underlying racial tensions, and to prevent future incidents of police brutality."

The protesters demanded that Kenneth Krouse, the head of campus police, drop all charges against Watkins and Smalls and issue them a formal apology. "What is rebellion?" asked Ball, quoting playwright Albert Camus. "A man who says no." We say no to police brutality.

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No to war and occupation

ACTIVISTS AT San Diego State University protested the war and military recruitment in schools for the November 17 national "Not Your Soldier" day of action.

The event began at the Free Speech Steps with activists from the Campus Antiwar Network performing skits that mocked military recruiters and exposed the lies and injustices of their recruitment tactics. The skits were followed by speeches on U.S. militarism and imperialism, the poverty draft and the military's anti-gay "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

We then marched through campus, and because the ROTC office doors were open, we marched silently through the office with antiwar signs and rainbow flags. The campus police showed up shortly afterward to try to break up our protest, but we continued to march through the campus chanting.

-- In Providence, R.I., almost 40 students at Central and Classical High Schools have signed opt-out forms requesting that their names, phone numbers and addresses be withheld from military recruiters.

Central's student body is overwhelmingly minority, a primary target for military recruiters. Opt-out signing outside the school can lead to challenging military recruitment within the school walls. For information about counter-recruitment efforts in Providence, call 401-453-1243.

Jocelyn Blake and John Osmand contributed to this report.

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Defend free speech
By Allison Andrelchik

SAN DIEGO--About 40 San Diego State University students gathered November 10 to protest the limitations of the so-called "free speech zones" that exist in the California State University system.

A coalition of students came together from Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano/a de Aztlán, Campus Antiwar Network, African Student Union and the International Socialist Organization to fight the cause. The campus police harassed members of each of these groups in recent weeks and months, claiming that students were being too noisy or in the wrong location on campus.

The speakout started at the "Free Speech Steps" on campus--the only permitted place for students to gather and hold events, according to campus police. After marching to several campus buildings, the group paused in front of the police station while an individual harassed by police at an earlier event spoke about the importance of fighting repression on campus and demanded the university take disciplinary actions against the officers responsible.

The school has begun to review its policies on free speech and how they limit students, but the struggle is not over, and this coalition will continue the fight for our constitutional rights on campus.

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