Following Tuesday’s anti-war rally, a planned second day of the 2008 Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies Army-Industry Collaboration Conference was cancelled.
University of California Police Department officers estimate that about 400 protesters participated in yesterday’s action, which saw the arrests of three people amid heavy police presence. Demonstrators opposed to the war in Iraq and UC-military collaboration amassed outside Corwin Pavilion, where the AICC conference was being held, chanting loud slogans, beating on the glass, playing loud music and disturbing attendees.
Protesters attempted to engage in a second day of demonstration yesterday according to community organizer Zachary King. However, upon arrival the activists discovered that the conference was no longer on campus.
“The protest was very successful,” King said. “We managed to kick the conference off campus and that is a very real step toward demilitarizing UCSB.”
Administrators and representatives of the conference could not be reached for comment.
After discovering that the conference was moved from campus, King said protesters learned the location was changed to the Hotel Mar Monte located on East Beach in downtown Santa Barbara. However, upon arrival they found signs that stated the conference was cancelled.
“It was over and they had given up,” King said.
College Republicans Chair Jerad Ferguson, a fourth-year political science and history major, said the protesters’ tactics and the cancellation of the conference were objectionable in light of the fact that much research done between the UC and military is designed to save lives.
“The protesters didn’t even research what they’re protesting,” Ferguson said. “The research also provides a lot of money for our school.”
The conference, which serves as a meeting for defense industry and army officials and is hosted by UCSB’s Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies was scheduled to wrap up today.
The demonstrations followed last year’s anti-war protest, in which hundreds of students managed to shut down Highway 217 before police restored order.