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Students to fast 56 hours to protest bombings

Note: the list of fasters has grown to more than 30.
A group of over 10 students from the College of William and Mary will fast for 56 hours beginning Nov. 7 at 9 a.m. to protest U.S. bombings in Afghanistan. Their protest is part of the "Fast for Peace," an event taking place simultaneously at colleges nationwide.

Sophomore Amy Smith and junior Derek Bishop, the campus coordinators for the event, along with fellow protesters, will be wearing white armbands to symbolize their solidarity as they begin their liquid-only fast.

"I am outraged by the travesty that occurred on Sept. 11, and my thoughts and prayers are with all of the victims' families," Smith said. "However, to respond by killing people, we are committing the same crime that we abhor. As a nation, we seek peace and security, and acts of violence will never be capable of restoring security."

During the fast, the protesters will be willing to answer questions and explain their actions and beliefs, according to Smith. Smith and Bishop heard about the fast from friends at other colleges and began researching how to involve the College.

"There are currently 10 people that will definitely be fasting, but the list is progressively growing as we get the word out," junior Linsay Burnett, a participant of the fast, said.

In addition to the fast, there will be a candlelight vigil, open to all students, at the Crim Dell Amphitheatre Nov. 7 at 9 p.m. The vigil will allow people to mourn the loss of loved ones and to share their thoughts about the events of Sept. 11.

"We want to invite people to come and speak about their experiences, anyone who wants to come," Bishop said. "We want to create a solidarity with the people who are fasting, the whole idea is to keep it really open to people with different views."

The 56-hour fast will conclude with a brief ceremony Nov. 9 at 4:30 p.m.

"The fast is 56 hours to show that it is a real sacrifice we are willing to make," Burnett said. "We may also have future fasts that are longer."

The students will also set up a public area with information concerning conditions in Afghanistan and the health aspects of fasting.

"The fast itself is open as well, if they want to make it strictly water or other liquids, or eating bread at sundown," Bishop said. "There are no strict limitations."

Organizers plan to set up the public information area in the University Center lounge in front of Center Court, although no plans are definite, according to Bishop.

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