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More than 50 protesters spent Saturday afternoon searching the Harvard campus for Salvadoran President Alfredo Cristiani--but were unable to find him.
Demonstrators waited for an hour outside Boylston Hall, where it was rumored that Cristiani would make an appearance at a meeting of a conservative student group.
But when Cristiani failed to show up, the protesters gave up their plan of blocking him from entering the building, and began a spontaneous march through Harvard Yard.
Meanwhile, several students--sent out as scouts--tried unsuccessfully to locate Cristiani at the Law School and the Kennedy School of Government
The demonstrators took their protest to the streets of Cambridge, holding up traffic on Mass. Avenue and chanting "Cristiani kills; we pay the bills."
The anti-Cristiani demonstrators, led by members of Harvard's Committee on Central America (COCA), claimed that the El Salvadoran president was responsible for the deaths of six Jesuit priests who were killed last November.
After the march through the streets, the protesters ended in front of Mass Hall, where President Derek C. Bok's office is located.
Leaders unsuccessfully tried to talk to Bok by knocking on the door of Mass Hall, which is usually closed on Saturdays. From there, the protest faded, with demonstrators leaving for their homes and out of the cold.
While the protesters could not deliver their message directly to Cristiani, leaders said they believed the demonstration was a success because they were able to get their message across.
"It was the first march I've seen at Harvard in my four years here. We took over the street," said John Donaghy '90-'91, a CASA member. "The cars were honking with us."
Although the main contingent of protesters were Harvard students, past students made the trip back to Cambridge to join the protest and "outrage" that Cristiani was invited by Harvard to speak.
"When I heard that [Cristiani was speaking], I was outraged. We're inviting a death squad president--a president with blood of the Salvadoran people on his hands--to speak here," said Margaret L. Lilienthal '88 of the rumor that Cristiani was supposed to appear at Harvard. "He is not a democrat or a moderate if he thinks Pinochet's Chile is a model of the perfect society."
"If it is true that Harvard invited him to speak, it is shocking, and the school should be embarrassed--I am embarrassed," said Christina T. Kiely '91.
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