Protests Against the War

In 2003, as the Iraq war approached, citizens in Urbana-Champaign joined millions worldwide by organizing and performing protests against it. For a town of its size, these actions were quite large. They also drew a lot of negative reaction from passers by and the opinion media. During this time, I focused my efforts on photography of the protests. The works served to document the actions and to encourage the participants. However, most importantly, they explore the ways in which citizens attempt to influence their government.

Several of these photographs were published in books, newspapers, and online, including the book Globalization and Empire, and the Vietnam Veterans Against the War newspaper, the Veteran. What follows is a brief edited collection of these works.

Click each image to see a larger version, or cycle through them.

A woman leads off the long line of protesters on North Prospect Ave, Champaign, IL, about one month before the war began. 2/15/2003

It was not uncommon to see children participating in the actions, and signs discussing the merits of spending money on bombs instead of schools were common. 2/15/2003

Negative reactions by passers by were not uncommon. This man showed his middle finger. Others would literally swerve their vehicles close to the protesters in order to scare or hurt them. 2/15/03

This image captures the conditions of the day. At times it was a near whiteout. This didn't stop the protesters, or the masses of cars heading to the big box stores. 2/15/2003

Students on the University of Illinois Quad, days after the war began. 3/20/2003

The quad protest eventually moved to a late afternoon/evening protest at West Side Park in downtown Champaign, IL. 3/20/2003

This caught the attention of the local news media since it made for a nice live shot at 6pm. 3/20/2003

A few people parked across from the park to stage their own pro-war counter protest. 3/20/2003

On the first anniversary of the Iraq War, in downtown Urbana, IL. 3/20/2004

Eventually the regular protests moved from North Prospect to the corner of Main and Neil in downtown Champaign. 3/19/2005