Protesters at Boalt Commencement Call for Yoo's Removal

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Clad in orange jumpsuits, about 50 protesters gathered in front of the Greek Theatre at Saturday's Boalt Hall School of Law commencement ceremony to demand that UC Berkeley fire controversial professor John Yoo.

Yoo, now a tenured professor at Boalt, authored memos for the Bush administration when he worked for the United States Department of Justice from 2001 to 2003 that protesters said condone torture.

Protesters handed out flyers and held signs accusing Yoo of war crimes as graduates, family and friends were waiting in line to enter the theatre for the ceremony.

"Boalt Hall isn't the place for John Yoo," said Rafael Jackson, an organizer for World Can't Wait, a group that aims to "drive out the Bush regime."

Protesters also handed out orange ribbons for commencement attendees to wear as a symbol of solidarity with their cause.

"(The ribbons) are a way for people to find community ... in opposition," said protester Sam Redborne.

A banner bearing the words "Shame on Yoo and UC-end torture" was flown above the area trailing an airplane.

Some of the graduates' family and friends wore the ribbons and said they agreed with the cause of the protest.

"I think it's appropriate for (the protest) to be at the law school graduation," said Marilyn Woodard, who came to see her grandson graduate. "It's important for freedom of speech."

However, others considered the protest to be disruptive.

"I don't think it's appropriate," said Elisabeth Aulwurm, a girlfriend of one of the graduates. "I think the majority of people aren't listening."

After most people had entered the theatre, the protesters moved their protest to Boalt Hall.

-Asaf Shalev


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