Khomeini supporter brings protest

Thirteen protesters were arrested about 7 p.m. Saturday in front of the Arts and Science Building while an Ayatollah Khomeini supporter spoke inside.

Opposing the Iraqi government, Karim Al-Khafagi, sponsored by the Muslim Student Association, talked to a crowd of 300 people in Allen Auditorium.

The speech began at 6:30 p.m., and so did the trouble.

Al-Khafagi hardly began when a large number of people in the audience interrupted him, screaming and yelling, MU Police Department Major Jack Watring said.

Watring took the stage and warned the protesters that police would take action if there were any more interruptions.

This did not dampen their spirits, though. When Al-Khafagi returned to the stage, they interrupted him again, Watring said.

MUPD took several of the demonstrators outside of the building with 50 to 60 protesters following. Police arrested 13 protesters, four of whom were MU students.

All were charged with disturbing the peace, and then placed in Boone Country Jail excluding a pregnant women, who received a summons.

The suspects said the speaker didn't represent their views, Watring said.

MUPD handled the mishap well because they were "geared up to be ready for the situation," Watring said.

A similar incident occurred Feb. 1, when Al-Khafagi appeared at Kansas State University in Manhattan.

There, Iranian and Iraqi students were involved in a violent dispute after Iraqi students objected to Al-Khafagi's speech, according to the Kansas State Collegian.

To prepare for potential disturbances, MUPD officers were on duty during the speech in addition to the normal shift of five, Watring said.

The physical injury and property damage which occurred at KSU was avoided at MU because of extra precautions, Watring said.

After the arrests were made, suspects' supporters demonstrated boisterously in front of Arts and Science until about 7:45 p.m., Watring said.

Al-Khafagi continued speaking until 11:30 p.m. without further disruption.

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