Activists line up in Darfur demonstration

By David M. Smith

The U of C chapter of Students Taking Action Now in Darfur (STAND) participated in a “Human Chain for Darfur” demonstration Sunday afternoon downtown on Michigan Avenue.

The demonstration, organized by the Chicago Coalition to Save Darfur, was intended to show support for a United Nations–led military intervention in the Sudan.

Rebecca Shi, a third-year in the College and the leader of the U of C chapter of STAND, stressed the importance of an immediate deployment of troops because the current mandate of the African Union peacekeeping force is about to expire. She said the already dire situation will deteriorate if a multinational force does not fill the vacuum, a course of action the Sudanese government has so far resisted.

The group of demonstrators included students, religious leaders, and Sudanese refugees, all adorned in blue United Nations T-shirts and holding signs.

Shi estimated that more than 150 people lined both sides of the street for about an hour in the middle of the afternoon. Before long, the demonstration drew support from casual passers-by, who joined protesters. The event received extensive coverage from the local media, including CBS and ABC news stations.

STAND is a national student organization whose primary goal is to end the genocide in Sudan. The U of C chapter of the group has pushed for the University’s divestment from companies that support the Sudanese government.