Thursday, February 16, 2006

College students riot over cartoons


CHAMPAIGN (ap) -- Rioting and public drinking erupted Wednesday as hundreds of students took to the streets in the University of Illinois' third straight day of drunken protests over the Prophet Muhammad cartoons. Three people were hospitalized for alcohol poisoning, including a 20-year-old undeclared freshman.

The State Board of Higher Education condemned the cartoons, first printed in the Daily Illini and now in the Northern Star of Northern Illinois University and other college newspapers. The board also spoke against what it called "systematic incitement to alcoholic consumption" by undergrads, pushed by some unidentified campus drinking establishments.

Young people flooded the streets of Champaign, said Saeed Wazir, a senior public relations major. The huge crowd went on a partying rampage, drinking in public and "lighting up" outside businesses and fighting police who struck back with tear gas and batons. Protesters with late night munchies congregated at a KFC restaurant, three burrito joints, and outside the school's financial aid offices, witnesses said.

At least 45 people were drunk, Wazir and witnesses told the Daley Show.

Riotous partying spread across the state and also broke out Wednesday near the Huskie region of DeKalb, where security officials have said foreign beer linked to Germany is consumed. The crowd, drunk on Ottobrau, became angry when a local pizza restaurant ran out of beer nuggets.

"The student newspapers have abused our intelligence and forced us to think, which leads us to drink," said demonstrator Derek Wright, his eyes bloodshot from an unknown substance. "We are expressing our anger the only way we know, by consuming vast quantities of beer. Usually protesters are peaceful but some miscreants do bad things and other people join them."

Not one student on either campus could explain the significance or offensiveness of the cartoons, which portray the prophet as a terrorist, including one that depicts Muhammad wearing a turban shaped as a bomb, but that didn't stop them from hitting the streets.

"I just want to make sure I have good buzz for whatever happens now," said Acton Gorton, the editor in chief of the Daily Illini who has been suspended for publishing the cartoons. "My reputation as a party monster is in jeopardy."


(Image altered from boston.com.)

4 Comments:

Anonymous Mr. Molitor said...

hey could you provide a link to the cartoons? I haven't seen it yet.

8:45 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

Try copying and pasting this link:

http://weblog.theviewfromthecore.com/2006_02/ind_005226.html

p.s. dig this post--there should be a keg stand in honor of muhammad...

10:05 AM  
Blogger ap said...

Tony,
Thanks for the link ... I hadn't seen the cartoons yet either. Just wasn't interested. But now that I have, I think I'm going to protest how amateurish they are. What can I burn?

10:15 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

I agree. I was thinking they would at least be funny, in an insulting and low-brow kind of way. But they make Family Circus look like the Onion.

10:33 AM  

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