Minneapolis, MN – More than 200 protesters met President Obama outside the Convention Center here, Aug. 30, where he spoke to a gathering of the American Legion. The demonstration was initiated by the Minnesota Committee to Stop FBI Repression and endorsed by a wide range of local progressive organizations.
Last fall, five Twin Cities homes and the offices of the Anti-War Committee were raided by the FBI as part of the Department of Justice attack on anti-war activists.
Jess Sundin, one of the raided activists, said, “In his address to the American Legion, the president sought support for his policies of war. Outside the hall, protesters, including organizations of veterans and military families whose voices exposed the human costs of these wars, not only on the people of Afghanistan or Iraq, but also on the troops sent to fight these wars.”
She added, “We are coming out to protest because Obama’s policies of endless war and Wall Street bail outs have failed to meet the needs of the majority of people at home, while costing countless lives abroad. We stand up together to support our community members who have been targeted with repression for speaking out against these policies. We demand an end to attacks on activists, an end to U.S. wars, occupations and bombings around the world and we demand funding of human needs here in our own country.”
Angel Buechner spoke for the Welfare Rights Committee: “Instead of beating down the doors of activists who are standing up against these criminal wars, Obama should be beating down the doors of these filthy rich people who are making profits from the war and getting richer at our expense! Instead of spending precious resources to try to shut up those who oppose the U.S. government's foreign policy, Obama should be creating jobs, providing health care and housing for everyone in need.”
Mike Perkins of the Minnesota chapter of Military Families Speak Out stated, “We are here in support of our courageous friends of the Anti-War Committee and to ask President Obama to step up and remove the cloud that hangs over those who are being unjustly persecuted by the FBI for the crime of demanding peace and justice for all people. Our son went to Baghdad in January 2004 to find Iraq's WMD and protect us from them. Almost immediately he realized, as did most of his buddies, that there were no WMD’s in Iraq and all they were doing there was making more people who wanted to attack us. This made him angry because his friends were dying for no good reason. He lost two very close friends there - who are but two of the more than 4790 who have died so far in an unjust war started by dishonest politicians.”
After rallying at the Convention Center plaza, protesters moved to a nearby street where Obama’s departing motorcade was expected to pass. Protesters chanting, “From Colombia to Palestine, solidarity is not a crime,” were pushed about half a block from where they had assembled, but were still visible when the motorcade went by.
Endorsers included: the Anti-War Committee, Alliant Action, Communities United Against Police Brutality, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, MN Peace Action Coalition, MN Military Families Speak Out, MN Immigrant Right Action Committee, MN Iraq Vets Against War, Socialist Action, Socialist Alternative, Tackling Torture at the Top, TC Avengers, Twin Cities Peace Campaign, U of M Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Veterans for Peace Chapter 27, WAMM, Welfare Rights Committee and the Women’s Student Activist Collective (U of M).