Group protests during graduation

May 11, 2009 4:50:39 AM PDT
The law school at UNC celebrated its graduation Sunday, but with the ceremony came protests.Former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey gave the commencement address and some people showed up to speak out against his record.

Some members of the graduating class say they invited the North Carolina Stop Torture Now group.

"It's a mixed day, Graduate Peter Gilbert said."I'm graduating, but I'm also here to try to raise awareness in North Carolina about the ongoing problems with torture."

Gilbert wore an orange armband along with dozens of others, as a sign of protest.

"Mukasey, rather than participating in finding and holding those responsible and holding those accountable and responsible for torture, has instead been an apologist for torture at the very least," he said.

They say Mukasey's views on torture do not uphold the laws they've been taught.

"It's hard because we've been taught for three years to respect and uphold the rule or law and we feel strongly, there were over 170 of us, law students and professors who signed a petition because we feel very very strongly that Mukasey has not acted toward the rule of law," Gilbert said.

Ginny Mele says even though her daughter's graduation is a happy occasion, she supports the group.

"I think that as a country, we need to speak up for human rights," Mele said.

The group protested for two hours without incident.

Some attending the graduation say the protesters were polite, but should have saved the political statement for another day.


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