Friday, April 27, 2007

Cheney demonstrators, pro and con, flock to traditionally quiet, conservative BYU

The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Launched: 04/26/2007 01:50:52 PM MDT

PROVO -- Several hours before Dick Cheney even arrived on campus, about 300 demonstrators were warming up the rhetoric at a place long considered a haven for conservatism: LDS Church-owned Brigham Young University.

Whether protesting the Iraq War and Vice President Cheney's choice as BYU commencement speaker, or countering with messages in support of President Bush's No. 2, about 200 protesters has taken up posts on three streets corners surrounding the campus entrance by 2 p.m. They endured a steady stream of drive-by disparagements.

Though nationally controversial, the vice president -- to speak at BYU's commencement at 4 p.m. -- maintains Brigham Young University students protest Thursday in advance of Vice President Dick Cheney's visit to give the school's commencement address (Robert Hirschi/The Salt Lake Tribune)plenty of support in this heavily Republican community.

But the protesters - a mix of students, faculty, veterans and community members - appeared unaffected by calls from passers-by of "Cheney for president," and "Go Bush!"

Dan Kennelly, a Korean War veteran from Sandy, acknowledged that he and other protesters were outnumbered in Utah County.

"But we're going to try," he said. "If someone doesn't want to listen, that's fine, but we'll try."

BYU student and war dissenter Diana Smith said she's used to being a minority voice at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints school, "but while many may disagree, it is usually respectful," she said.


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