Singing LaRouchians Interrupt Class

Political demonstrations turned musical this week as members of a protest group entered Harvard classrooms, singing for the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney.

The vocalists were members of the LaRouche Youth Movement—followers of Lyndon H. LaRouche, a political agitator and eight-time presidential candidate.

Some professors welcomed the lyrical demonstrators as a calming force amid the hustle and bustle of shopping period classrooms.

Professor of Biostatistics David P. Harrington said he gave the group permission to perform in his course, Statistics 100, “Introduction to Quantitative Methods.”

“They said, ‘Can we do a little singing?’ and I said, ‘You can.’ I didn’t know what they were going to do, but they promised they would finish before class,” he said.

Harrington said he was under the impression that they were a Harvard student group, but he added that “they were not disruptive. There was no screaming or shouting.”

More LaRouche protestors were spotted inside the Music Building as Foreign Cultures 79, “Historical and Musical Paths on the Silk Road,” was letting out.

“They were pretty good,” Kevin M. Bache ’07, who was shopping the course, said of the singers. “I think they were rocking like a four-part harmony. That caught my attention, and it turns out they are handing out these pamphlets, so I took one.”

“Turned out it was some crazy conspiracy stuff, which just added a little surrealism to the day” he added.

But others did not take the protest songs so lightly, as the Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) responded to a complaint asking officers to “remove [a] group,” according to yesterday’s police log. By the time officers arrived, the protestors had left the area.

HUPD spokesman Steven G. Catalano did not respond to an e-mail requesting comment on the demonstrations.

According to Pavel M. Pnev, an organizer of the protests, the group had planned to sing and hand out fliers outside the Science Center.

“We sing in the streets, what we bring out is something that is being lost from the culture today, a specific message for the communication of ideas” he said.

While Pnev said that entering classrooms was not part of the group’s original plan, he could not account for the whereabouts of the protestors for the entirety of the event.

“I don’t know what everyone of our members did,” he said.

According to an article Wednesday in the Boston University Daily Free Press, the group became the target of campus police last week after they entered a classroom prior to a Jan. 23 lecture.

“People see [LaRouche members] as a nuisance and don’t realize that they have no business being on BU property,” BU spokesman Colin Riley told the Free Press. “If they are trespassing, we can arrest them, and we will.”

The LaRouche Youth Movement’s goals are “to stir up opposition to the Bush administration while raising awareness among students,” according to LaRouche national spokeswoman Barbara Boyd.

“What [we] are trying to do is be humorous about our Vice President in order to get a large student movement to boot him from office,” Boyd said. “Otherwise we are going to be screwed.”

—Staff writer Noah S. Bloom can be reached at nsbloom@fas.harvard.edu