Flying the American flag and heckling, Chelsea Clinton, the former US president’s daughter, has been waging her own campaign against peace protesters at Oxford University.
Ms Clinton, who last month started a two-year course in International Relations at University College, Oxford, wrote in an article for a US magazine that she had been offended by anti-American sentiments from other students and “peace” demonstrators. She claims she now prefers to stay with “Americans – people who I know are thinking about our country as much as I am.”
But students at Oxford said today that far from people approaching her, Ms Clinton has been looking for an argument. Eight days ago she attended an anti-war rally at Oxford town hall with a group of friends. Not only did they hang an American flag across the wall, the group heckled from the floor, calling out: “How do you catch Osama, then?”
The student organiser for the Stop the War coalition, Helen Salmon, said the whole incident at Oxford was “hilarious”.
The student convenor of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Liz Hutchins, said Ms Clinton was mistaking concern about the American government’s policy for dislike of Americans. Every student protest group has expressed its sympathy for the events of September 11.
“But, there is quite a strong feeling that the systems the US uses to rule the world are very unfair to most people. It’s a completely normal tactic to throw allegations around, rather than addressing the real issues of American foreign policy,” she said.
Anti-war protests and teach-ins have been taking place on dozens of UK campuses since the air strikes on Afghanistan began. Although they have been attracting no more than a few hundred protesters, organisers claim a large number of UK students are increasingly dubious about American war aims.
A spokesman for the British Council said he hoped Ms Clinton did not get the wrong idea about England from how a few students behave. “It could be the student syndrome. You do get more extreme views on campuses. Every opinion poll seems to show the British public is firmly in favour of the USA.”
Ms Clinton was not available for comment.
· Universities around the country have been increasing their counselling services and have been working hard to avoid anti-Islamic and anti-American sentiments, according to the Council for International Education.