Chicago, IL - During morning rush hour 100 people gathered at the Federal Center Plaza in Chicago in a show of solidarity for those targeted by the Sept. 24 FBI raids on anti-war activists in the Midwest. Chicago activists Joe Iosbaker and Stephanie Weiner, two among the 14 subpoenaed activists, announced their decision not to cooperate with the grand jury investigation.
"The grand jury process is an attempt to violate the inalienable rights under the Constitution and international law to freedom of political speech, association and the right to advocate for change," said Weiner, reading from a statement issued earlier that day. "Those with grand jury dates for October 5 and those whose subpoenas are pending have declared that we intend to exercise our right not to participate in this fishing expedition."
"We have nothing to say to the grand jury," said Iosbaker.
Pastor Dan Dale spoke at the press conference and said that over 30 Muslim, Jewish, and Christian organizations have signed an interfaith statement condemning the raids. "We are people of faith and conscience who condemn the recent FBI raids in Chicago as a violation of the constitutional rights of the people and organizations raided," said Pastor Dale. "They are a dangerous step to further criminalize dissent. The FBI raids chisel away and bypass fundamental constitutional rights by hauling activists before grand juries under the guise of national security."
Ann Evens, who was active in the anti-apartheid movement in the 1980's, commented on the importance of solidarity work. "I supported the ANC [which was at the time designated a "terrorist" organization], and we all know the importance of international solidarity work in ending apartheid in South Africa. We know the importance of solidarity work around Colombia and Palestine today."
Other speakers included Abayomi Azikiwe, of the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War and Injustice (MECAWI), who traveled all the way from Detroit to speak out against the FBI raids.
In the last 10 days there have been over 60 demonstrations in cities across the country, bringing thousands out into the streets to protest the FBI repression of anti-war and international solidarity activists.
For more information, visit www.stopfbi.net.