The students walked slowly around the inside and outside of the MSC, brandishing handmade signs with anti-war slogans and garnering the attention of student onlookers.
Drop tuition, not bombs, they chanted. All we want to do is give peace a chance. No justice, no peace, no war in the Middle East.
Eleven years after the destruction of the World Trade Center and the subsequent War on Terror, about 20 USF students protested against the war and prejudice against Islam.
Beginning on campus around 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, members of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and Youth Working for Equal Rights (YWER) marched around the Marshall Student Center (MSC) to promote peace and call an end to the war in Afghanistan.
What we want to do is bring awareness to people, Estefania Galvis, a senior majoring in theatre and a member of the SDS, said. Theres people out there that forget that theres a war going on. How would we feel if someone came into our country and decided to bomb us? How would we feel if someone someday decided to come into our house and destroy everything?
After the first lap around the MSC, the group went inside to the atrium, where SDS member Matthew Hastings, a senior majoring in
anthropology, gave a short speech on the anti-warmessage of the groups protest. Protesters hung a large white banner from the fourth floor of the MSC, which said: 9/11 stats: 2,996 dead and $178 billionlost. War on terror stats: 227,000 dead and $3.4 trillion lost. Enough is enough.
The students continued with another lap around the MSC before returning to their information table near the Bull Runner loop around noon, where SDS and YWER members had set up a large white table with 88 black-and-white posters and flyers with anti-war messages for studentsto take.
Kelsy OMorrow, a senior majoring in sociology, participated in the protest and said the posters the group handed out were reflective of the role of the U.S. in the war.
Weve gone far beyond our boundaries and killed many innocent people, she said. (The posters) are talking a lot about oil and our discrimination against people of Muslim background and their beliefs in general.
The groups continued their protests in the afternoon, this time downtown, wherestudents joined in a publicevent protesting the
cancellation of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) educational programs in public schools, a debate that has been going on sinceopponents of CAIR spoke out about its classroompresentations in February.
The USF group and about20 other people marched about 10 blocks from Gaslight Park to the Hillsborough County School Board offices, where they met in a counter-protest from a group against Islam-related programs in schools.
Marisol Marquez, a junior majoring in chemistry, said she protested for political and personal reasons.
Its been 11 years and we keep hearing, The troops are coming home, Marquez said. Not really, theyre not. My sister shes in the Air Force her husband is going to be deployed to Iraq in March, so this isnt a thing thats going away. The war isnt going away.