Students Protest Senator Clinton's Decision to Back Bush's War Plans
NEW YORK CITYAbout 75 anti-war protesters, angered by Hillary Rodham Clinton's decision to back President Bush's war plans in Iraq, picketed an address given by the senator at the New School on Monday night.
Three New School students were ejected at around 6:30 p.m. when they snuck into the back of the auditorium where Clinton was speaking and began yelling protest slogans.
When a reporter tried to enter the event, she was informed that no press would be allowed, "at the invitee's request."
The sold-out event was hosted by New School prez and former Nebraska senator Bob Kerrey. A spokesperson for the New School said that while media are generally allowed to report on public addresses by elected officials, "the request came from Clinton's office" for press not be admitted. "Sometimes events are open to the press, sometimes they're not," Clinton's press secretary said on Tuesday.
Last night's ad hoc protest, which was announced on activist listservs and on the Web site Protest.net, drew mostly New York University and New School students, but also other concerned adults. "I think it was a cowardly thing to do," said Ellen Davidson, associate director of publications for the New School, commenting on Clinton's decision to go along with the war. "I think she was looking out more for her career than for what her constituents wanted and were saying to her," added Davidson, who was passing out homemade masks of Clinton with the word "Spineless" printed over her face.
"Usually the New School is happy to get as much press as they can get," Davidson noted. "But I think they knew this was going to be controversial, and they didn't want Hillary to be embarrassed."
Clinton has been dogged by protesters for the past week. On October 7, 14 members of the War Resisters League were arrested for leafleting outside Clinton's offices at 780 Third Avenue in Manhattan. And last Thursday, the day the Senate voted to authorize military action, a group of NYU students staged an eight-hour sit-in at Clinton's offices to demand that she vote no on the resolution.
Prior to the vote, both Clinton and fellow senator Chuck Schumer were flooded with calls from New Yorkers, most urging them to oppose war.
"The letters to the editor have been running three to one against the war, and Hillary somehow thinks a vote for the war is representing her constituents?" asked Sarah Grey, a 21-year-old graduate student at the New School. "There's no accountability."
One large banner proclaimed Clinton had fallen into the trap of a "vast right-wing conspiracy," while another compared her to Lady Macbeth.
As the crowd on West 12th Street chanted, "Money for schools, not for war!" an elderly man peered out at the protest from behind his hedge. "I'm disgusted," he sniffed, but not at the demonstrators. "I e-mailed Clinton a week ago to ask her position [on the war], and the response I got was that she was thinking about it. I think she's a weasel," he said, before disappearing back into his brownstone.
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