Student Vigil Protesting Recent Slayings Held

About 30 students held a candle-light vigil last night on the steps of Widener Library to protest the recent killings of student protestors in France and Israel.

The demonstators held signs decrying the slaying of a French student who was beaten to death last Saturday by Paris police and the shooting of two students by Israeli soldiers in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The vigil was also held to show solidarity with student groups throughout the world, organizers said.

"We want to express our support for students to protest peaceable," said Adam Sabra '90, one of six freshmen organizers. "We don't feel people know these things are going on."

"These students are not forgotten and won't be forgotten," Phillip N. Fucella '90 said.

Calling French Prime Minister Jacques Chirac's plan for greater university autonomy and selective admission "elitist," students in that country have been protesting proposed changes in the structure of the French university system since last Thursday. The students have thrown stones, barricaded streets, and burned police cars.

On Saturday, French student leaders proclaimed Wednesday a day of mourning for a student who died after being beaten by police.

On Thursday, Israeli soldiers killed two Palestinian students at Bir Zeit University on the West Bank on the fifth day of riots against Israeli occupation of the West Bank.

Participants at the Widener vigil last night said they were horrified by the slaying of fellow students overseas. "Why am I here? Just to show that I'm upset at what happened," said one candle-bearing protester who didn't want her name used.

Organizer Christopher D. Davidson '90 said he hoped the protest would show that Harvard students are interested in the outside world. "People say the youth of today don't care what's going on and just want a lovely suburban life. That's not true," Davidson said.

Last night's protest was not affiliated with any organization, organizer Lukan A. Way '90 said. Candles were donated by the Christ Church, he said.