To give a sense of the mildness of the protest, I was involved in a protest of UN Ambassador Bill Richardson in the late 1990's. Richardson was speaking at the university to drum up support for a new attack on Iraq on behalf of the Clinton administration (for those who feel nostalgic for Clinton, his sanctions campaign led to the death of at least 600,000 Iraqi civilians.) For some reason, the organizers of the talk in the Humphrey building thought that 75-100 angry anti-sanctions protesters were going to sit back quietly and listen to Richardson advocate for the mass death of more Iraqis. Within a minute of the speech, the ambassador was drowned out by the protesters, and the speech was entirely shut down. I'm still proud of that event. Our disruption of the event along with the Ohio State protest cut through the pro-war propaganda of the administration and the news networks. Like the milder five minute protest of Israeli Ambassador by the Eleven, we effectively transformed a monologue into a real political dialogue with our actions. At the same time, we faced no school or criminal charges for these much more militant and disruptive tactics, and our protest was an official action on the part of our organization, the Progressive Student Organization. I don't think that it's a coincidence that our group of protesters, unlike the Irvine protesters, was almost exclusively white.
There are calls to support the Irvine 11. One can find a petition here. In addition, there are calls to send emails to the district attorney, Tony Rackauckas to drop the charges. Here is the email. email@example.com