500 Students Protest Rodney King Verdict

BOSTON--More than 500 Boston-area college students marched silently Monday afternoon from Cambridge to Boston to protest the acquittal of the four Los Angeles police officers who beat motorist Rodney king.

The racially-mixed crowd of students, most from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), walked two and three abreast in a line that stretched more than a quarter-mile long.

Approximately 100 Harvard students participated in the protest, walking from the steps of Widener Library to MIT, where they joined the other marchers.

"I'm marching because there's a lot of injustice in this world," said Keya J. Stokes '94. "People every day have to face what Rodney king faced."

Harvard students from all racial backgrounds said they participated in the march to show unity in the wake of the race riots that followed the King verdict.


"People are here to show solidarity across ethnic groups for what we perceive as a lack of justice and a need to address larger problems," said Eunice Yoon '93. "One reason for having a silent march is to show that there is a rationale behind the protest."

Rally organizers requested that participants set aside their homemade signs and instead use placards made by the protest coordinators.

"We want to have a uniform front with one message," said MIT senior Reginald Parker, one of the event's organizers.

"We do not have to riot to show our anger," read the placards. "we do not have to shout tobe heard."

The 40-minute march ended in front of theMassachusetts State House, where MIT students DaleLefebvre and Kristala Jones delivered a speech anda proposal calling for improved race relations inemployment, federal programs and housing, amongother issues.

Criticism of Bush

In his part of the speech, Lefebvre criticizedPresident George Bush for focusing on the riotsand looting in south central Los Angeles, ratherthan on the issues that spawned the violence.

"The dissatisfaction is nationwide, not limitedto looters and thugs," said Lefebvre. "The mainproblem is not violence. The main problem isinstitutionalized racial injustice."

The organizers and protesters stressed theimportance of a silent march to pose as a starkcontrast to the violence and disorder elsewhere.

The march was organized by the MIT blackStudents' Union and residents of the chocolateCity dormitory there, according to Fritz N.Francis, one protest organizer