Local activists plan protests against war


Saddened and angry that the nation has failed to avert war, peace activists around the city plan to participate in a series of demonstrations today.

The first is scheduled to begin at noon at Towson University. Protesting students and faculty members plan to walk out of their classes and gather at a grassy area on campus known as "the beach."

At 1 p.m., they are to walk north on York Road as their Goucher College counterparts head south on Dulaney Valley Road. The groups plan to meet at the Towson roundabout.

The Towson activists have invited students from area high schools and Essex Community College to join them.

As they did on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, peace activists carrying candles and signs plan to form a "peace path" along much of Charles Street between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.

A demonstration organized by the anti-war group Iraq Pledge of Resistance-Baltimore is scheduled for 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at War Memorial Plaza, across from City Hall.

"Partly, I know it is emotional," said Nick Sheridan, a local peace activist. "There is enormous sadness and distress in many American people about what we are doing to the Iraqi people and to our good soldiers, and we need to express that distress."

He said the activists also hope they might be able to help convince the Bush administration to shorten the conflict.

As peace organizers around the city planned events yesterday, more than 150 students packed the Towson University student union to hear faculty members discuss the war on Iraq.

Margaret Clotter, 19, a freshman from Knoxville in Frederick County, said she is opposed to war even though her father served in the Army for 21 years, including during the 1991 Persian Gulf war.

"I'm against war in general," she said, adding that she worries about retaliation against Americans.

But others who attended yesterday's discussion support the U.S. action.

"We all know Saddam Hussein is a homicidal dictator," said Dana Worrell, 23, a senior from Rantoul, Ill.

"We've given Saddam 12 years to disarm, and he still hasn't disarmed," the political science major said "It's time for us to go to war."

While she isn't convinced Iraq has weapons of mass destruction and has shared them with terrorists, she thinks the United States must go to battle "just to be on the safe side."

Shakeed Dilshad, 22, a junior from Laurel, opposes war. A Muslim whose family is from Pakistan, Dilshad said he believes that President Bush is pursuing war for two reasons.

"The oil is like gold," he said. "He has this thing against Saddam Hussein, one on one."

Sun staff writer Jonathan D. Rockoff contributed to this article.

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