The Big Picture
Obies Take It to Freedom Plaza
About 200 Oberlin students traveled to Washington,
D.C., to participate in the September 29 antiwar and anti-racism
demonstration. Among them was sophomore Gabriel Graff, who
went armed with his camera.
The original focus of the protest
was to oppose the global financial policies of the World Bank
and the International Monetary Fund, but after the September
11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, that
purpose was altered.
The largely peaceful demonstration
was held in Freedom Plaza in downtown Washington. Police estimated
the number of demonstrators at 7,000, according to The Washington
Post, while organizers set the number at 25,000.
The Oberlin students marched as
a group to Freedom Plaza, Graff said.
"We marched without words
to a beat pounded out against plastic tubs and trashcans.
We marched with our signs and our puppets, and we were greeted
with cheers by the mass of protesters who engulfed Freedom
Plaza," Graff said.
After the three-hour rally, the
group marched again, "past the Capitol, past riot police
(who looked relieved to be dealing with a peace protest rather
than the IMF/World Bank protest), past a few counter-protesters.
The march ended with dancing and announcements, and with police
chasing people off trees," Graff said. While some students
have been frustrated by the Bush administration's pursuit
of war, "protests are rarely about success," Graff
said. "They involve putting yourself out there again
and again in an attempt to be heard."