9/11 rally turns ugly
Anti-war protesters disrupt nonpartisan memorial service in Malcolm X Plaza
September 12, 2007 9:04 PM
Around 350 people who attended a Sept. 11 memorial event witnessed passionate exchanges between campus organizations and a trio of protesters at Malcolm X Plaza.
SF State student Nathaniel Jones, 52, shouted "If HUAC (House of Un-American Activities Committee) existed I'd damn sure report you," to the three protesters, who were members of "World Can't Wait: Drive Out the Bush Regime," during the event.
The World Can't Wait members kneeled in the quad, clad in orange jump suits, Abu Ghraib prison uniforms, and black head-wraps, while stomping and wiping their shoes on the American flag during a reading of the Pledge of Allegiance.
The event was held by The Political Science Student Association, the College Democrats and the College Republicans. It was dedicated to the victims and families of Sept. 11.
"We were trying to raise awareness and not start a shouting match, but the people in orange (World Can't Wait) staged an aggressive event, and it all descended into madness," said Sam Johnson, 18, of the unofficially named Temporary 9/11 Coalition.
The stage area was adorned with three American flags, two banners and 47 pages with the names of victims lost in the terrorist attacks. In the middle of the quad the three members of "World Can't Wait: Drive Out the Bush Regime" kneeled on top of an American flag with a black swastika painted on, clearly visible between their bodies.
"I am from New York, and [9/11] hit me directly because I am from the city," said Hillary Edelson, an 18-year-old education major, who was wearing an "I Love New York" T-shirt. "This affected our nation, as Pearl Harbor did, and its an event that we should remember."
The event opened with the playing of "The Star Spangled Banner" and the reading of the Pledge of Allegiance by the vice president of the SF State College Democrats, Ian King. A moment of silence was disrupted by the three protesters when they called out the questions, "What is 9/11 really about? Is it about Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay?"
"A quality of the American spirit was revealed during the aftermath of 9/11, but we remained united, and we were determined to rebuild," King said during his moment at the podium.
Six speakers went on to express their personal reflections on 9/11. One speaker, John Ashford, is a member of the SF State College Republicans.
"I am sorry that there were other victims, but I am an American and I lost friends and colleagues [in the attacks]," Ashford said about victims outside of the U.S.
In addition to the disruptions of the memorial, the protesters deterred the Temporary 9/11 Coalition from doing their planned "die-in" on the grass, where members had planned to lie down and represent the innocent victims of war.
The rally has received a mass of media attention, including an interview with the College Republicans and Democrats on "The O'Reilly Factor."
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