Students Protest Possible Iraq War
More than 200 youths from West L.A. magnet school march through streets. Principal says they may be suspended for walking out of class.
By Akilah Johnson
LATimes - February 7 2003
More than 200 students carrying "no blood for oil" signs marched down the steps of the Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies magnet school in West Los Angeles on Thursday to protest preparations for war against Iraq.
Many other students lined the school's chain-link fence waving "not in our name" signs and applauding as their classmates headed to the first of three rallying spots -- 18th Street at La Cienega Boulevard -- along a three-mile route down La Cienega to Pico Boulevard to Fairfax Avenue and back again.
Taking to the corners of three major intersections along the way, the protesters chanted "1, 2, 3, 4, we won't fight your bloody war!" and waved antiwar posters, rousing some honks of support from passing cars.
Meanwhile, school Principal Frank Nishimura, who accompanied the marchers to ensure their safety, said the protesters will face possible suspension from school for walking out of class. Marchers reported later, however, that Nishimura commended them during an assembly on campus for demonstrating peacefully.
As the march proceeded, a heckler yelled at the students, "You guys should be in class, not out here marching!" But Michael Horton, a junior at the magnet school, said Thursday's event "lets everyone know that we have a mind, and we know what we're talking about."
Among their reasons for opposing a conflict in Iraq, students cited their fears that Iraqi civilians would be killed and their concern that President Bush is overemphasizing national security
"Calling Saddam Hussein evil is not enough for me," said Sheva Diange, 16, who added that she'd like to see beefed up inspections by the United Nations as opposed to war