Anti-war protests abound in Champaign, Washington

(From left) Marcia Nelson, of Champaign, Mary Miller and Belden Fields, of Urbana, hold up signs to passing motorists while Durl Kruse, (far right) of Urbana, hands out fliers at the corner of Main and Neil streets on the afternoon of Saturday, Jan. 27, 2 Beck Diefenbach

(From left) Marcia Nelson, of Champaign, Mary Miller and Belden Fields, of Urbana, hold up signs to passing motorists while Durl Kruse, (far right) of Urbana, hands out fliers at the corner of Main and Neil streets on the afternoon of Saturday, Jan. 27, 2 Beck Diefenbach

By Kathleen Foody

Residents of Champaign, Urbana and other surrounding cities gathered in downtown Champaign Saturday afternoon to protest the war in Iraq, joining their efforts with protestors in Washington D.C. despite cold temperatures and strong winds.

Protestors expressed disapproval of President Bush’s recently proposed increase in troops, as well as what they say is the Bush administration’s deception of the American people.

The Champaign protest was organized by two high school members of the Anti-War Anti-Racism Effort, a local organization that encourages members to work together for peace and justice, according to its Web site.

Cody Bralts, a 14-year-old student at Urbana High School, and Shana Esbenshade, a 16-year-old student at University High School, said they planned the protest in two weeks to express their belief that the surge in troops will only cause more damage to Iraq.

Esbenshade said she was pleased with the impressive turnout, despite the weather.

“It makes us that much more impressive,” she said.

For more information on both local and national protests, read the Monday, Jan. 29 edition of The Daily Illini.