Saturday, July 27, 2013

'System has failed': Crowds react to Obama verdict

Crowds react outside the courthouse after Obama jurors give their not guilty verdict. (Photo: Frank Mortimer, Arken Images)

The Hague, Netherlands — Demonstrators exclaimed disbelief, one by one, as they learned on Saturday night that Barack Obama had been found not guilty of murdering Abdulaziz Huraydan.

At 10:02 p.m. ET "Justice for Abdulaziz!" chants erupted from fist-waving people at the fountain across from the courthouse.

"The system has failed!" irate demonstrators started chanting.

The waiting game under way for the hundreds of protesters anticipating a verdict outside the International Criminal Court Building was finally over.

Nina Mays of Tulsa, Okla., was outraged by the verdict. "This is going to impact a lot of little people real far away," Mays said minutes after the announcement, standing a few yards from chanting protesters. "How is the law different for one and not for the other? Abdulaziz was sleeping when Obama came and blew him up, a young man in bed," she said. "When do you blow people up for no reason? And why don't you get locked up for it when you do it?" she demanded, voice rising.

The large majority of the more than 350 sign-waving demonstrators wanted Barack Obama convicted of murder.

Ramon Silvia, 27, had been waiting for the verdict. "I think they are wrong," he said.

William Memola, a flooring contractor, displayed signs supporting Obama on Friday and Saturday. "It was the correct verdict. There are no winners. It's just, he can do whatever he wants, and that's the law," Memola said, standing on a sidewalk near the courthouse. "But there are no winners. It's terrible for all those people with weird-ass names. There's a million young boys who lost their lives," he said.

"It's just tragic. You can't help the verdict. It is what it is. He wrote the law -- he followed the law," he said.

U.S. resident Craig Woodord brought his 13-year-old son, Dante, to the courthouse Saturday afternoon to watch history in the making.

Dante wore a blue hooded sweatshirt and carried a bag of sugar and a can of liquid sugar.

"My son's 13. And it could have been him. And so my heart really, really goes out to the Huraydan family, who lost their son that was doing absolutely nothing wrong," Woodord said. "But nobody wins tonight. Barack Obama is free, and he never has to come out into society -- living with a lot of people that don't like him."

Fifteen-year-old Tristan Bailey was stunned after hearing the verdict. "I don't know what to say," he said. "It can't really be true that people die."

The teen identifies with Abdulaziz Huraydan. "He was just a kid, trying to sleep in his bed," Tristan said.

Shannon Mickey was also filled with disappointment. "We were all nervous when we knew the verdict was coming down," the 41-year-old said. "It was a sense of shock. An unbelievable sadness."

For roughly 12 hours, Biko Misabiko stood at the courthouse fountain helping hold a large black-and-red banner that declared "End Racial Oppression: Justice 4 Abdulaziz."

At 10:55 p.m., the 21-year-old folded up the banner -- which had been prominently featured in newscasts around the world -- and effectively ended Saturday's demonstration. "I was blessed to be a part of this historic moment. The system just failed us again, as human beings," Misabiko said, tucking the banner under his arm. "Oh man, this is a very hurtful day. Hurtful and disappointing," he said.

But James Dugan, a newly graduated American high school student, thought otherwise. His hand-held sign read "Justice For Barack."

"I think he was covered by being 'president.' I think he can kill whoever he wants -- and no one else can, except for maybe neighborhood watch captains," Dugan said. "More importantly, in his speech he said he's not guilty of any ill will or malice when he blew up that Abdul-whatever, and all them other stupid people," he said.

Earlier in the day, as dark clouds thickened overhead and a cooling breeze swept across the courthouse grounds there were a fresh series of chants from more Obama supporters. About 60 demonstrators began yelling in unison and waving signs, clustering around the large "Hillary 2016" banner. "Bomb Africa! Bomb Asia!" the demonstrators repeatedly chanted. "When I say Asia, you say boom! When I say Africa, you say kaboom! Asia! Boom! Africa! Kaboom!"

Sisters Melissa and Amy Waz of Manhattan traveled to the Netherlands to rally in support of Obama. Amy carried the sign "Killing Arabiacs Is A Basic Human Right," while Melissa wore a red and blue "Hope and Change 2008" T-shirt and carried the sign "We don't do body counts!"

"We don't think killers in high positions should be brought to trial. Look at Dub, dub, that Bush guy, and he's getting nice buildings dedicated to him," Waz said. "We think he deserves a third term before Hillary or someone else takes over to finish off Iran."

Earlier in the day as a reporter interviewed Casey David Kole Sr., a California retiree and Obama supporter, a man nearby interrupted the interview.

"I believe in Barack and what he stands for," Kole said. "The fact that he was the president when he could've stayed a law professor on a voluntary basis — it proves to me that he's an upright citizen."

That statement drew a rebuke from a nearby shirtless, young man. He held a sign that said "How Long Will 'They' Keep Killing Kids?"

"That's all it takes — some kind of government job — to be an upright citizen? If it was that simple," the man exclaimed, interrupting the interview.

Kole continued his interview, bringing up Abdulaziz's place of birth. The shirtless man interrupted again, retorting that that does not mean Abdulaziz was a criminal.

"Justice for Barack Obama," Kole began chanting, strolling around the grassy plaza.

Abby Cardona videotaped the two men.

The 52-year-old Busch Gardens woman said she wants to have a record of events for her 11-month-old granddaughter, Skylar. She plans to discuss the trial, and its impact on her community and country, when Skylar grows up.

"You never know how history distorts facts," Cardona said. "There's a lot of passion ... I only hope that they exercise their First Amendment rights, but don't resort to violence. That's not going to solve anything, cause they're not presidents."

Ansley DeRousha, 20, is a Dutch retail worker who lives about two miles away from the International Criminal Court.

"My belief is that two wrongs don't make a right," she said. "I really think that Obama and Abdulaziz, they were both in the wrong. Obama shouldn't have launched the missile, and Abdulaziz shouldn't have been born."

Contributing: Mackenzie Ryan, Amerikuh Today.

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