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The Daily Tar Heel

Inauguration Draws Local Groups

And they're not going to be quiet about it.

Several student groups such as Students United for a Responsible Global Environment and the UNC Young Democrats have organized groups to peacefully protest voters' rights they think were violated in Florida, as well as some of President-elect George W. Bush's more conservative Cabinet appointments.

"We want to put the Bush White House on alert that the American people are watching and are disturbed not only by how he got in the White House but what he's done since then," said Chris Brook, president of Young Democrats.

Brook said the group welcomed students from other organizations, such as the UNC chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Black Student Movement and "people who are just not happy about the irregularities that happened in this election."

The group will gather at 10 a.m. in DuPont Circle, where Patricia Ireland, president of the National Organization for Women, will be voicing her concerns to the masses. At 2 p.m. the students will begin marching around the city to carry their message with other protesting voters.

Susan Navarro, a member of Young Democrats, said it is important for UNC students to represent state Democrats. "We want people to know that even as a Southern state, a conservative state, there's still liberalism here," she said.

Gwen Frisbie-Fulton, a UNC junior and member of the N.C. Green Party, has been in contact with SURGE members in planning for the day. Frisbie-Fulton was arrested and jailed for two weeks after protesting at the Republican National Convention this summer. She said it's imperative for young people to be involved in politics. "We find it very important to go because our only access to democracy is taking to the streets."

Religious students on campus will be joining the political activists as well. Monday is the 28th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, and students from the Newman Catholic Student Center are traveling to D.C. for the March for Life scheduled for Saturday afternoon.

UNC students will be participating in the inauguration madness in a nonpartisan fashion as well. The Marching Tar Heels are slated for the 21st position in the inaugural parade after practicing since their invitation about a week ago.

Fifty students from an Advanced Placement U.S. History class at East Chapel Hill High School also will be attending the day's events.

At UNC, students organizers have even discussed safety procedures in preparation for the events. Brook said the Young Democrats have consulted seasoned protesters who have attended previous inaugurations.

But Navarro said they are encouraging students to remember practices of peaceful protest. "Don't get in any trouble," she said. "Watch yourself and be respectful."

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