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Minnesota protests on 1-year anniversary of Trump’s inauguration

By staff |
January 21, 2018
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Minneapolis march on one year anniversary of Trump taking power.
Minneapolis march on one year anniversary of Trump taking power. (Fight Back! News/staff)

Minneapolis, MN - Several hundred protesters marched through the streets of Minneapolis chanting “Refugees are welcome here,” on Jan. 20th, the one-year anniversary of Trump taking office. Protesters included participants from last year’s women’s march with pink pussycat hats, immigrants, members of the anti-war and anti-police brutality movements, and children. The protest was organized by the Minnesota Anti-War Committee.

Meredith Aby-Keirstead, a member of the Anti-War Committee, kicked off the rally stating, “It is important to not let the fact that these countries [north Korea and Venezuela] are not predominantly Muslim to confuse us. North Korea and Venezuela are on the ban as window dressing in order to attempt to make Trump’s policy appear as less racist than before. This is very much indeed a Muslim ban and these countries were targeted because they are in the cross hairs of the U.S. military like Syria, Somalia and Iran. Iran, north Korea and Venezuela are all on the travel ban list in an effort to punish them for resisting U.S. imperialism.”

Leilah Abdennabi, a member of the Palestinian Youth Movement, spoke next about the role Trump has had in increasing tension in Palestine, saying “One thing we can do here in the U.S. is show solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners, such as Ahed Tamimi. 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi became an international hero of resistance after a video of her standing up to an Israeli occupation soldier went viral. Israeli military courts deny basic due process and rights to Palestinians and have a nearly 100% conviction rate. Ahed is one of the 350 Palestinian children currently in Israeli detention.” Abdennabi encouraged the crowd to support Ahed and other Palestinian political prisoners.

Rhea Smykalski, also of the Anti-War Committee, spoke about U.S. war threats against Korea, stating, “In the last few months, Trump has been ramping up the attacks on Korea. His tweets, which include, ‘Rocket man,’ ‘Talking is not the answer,’ ‘Fire and fury,’ and ‘My button is bigger than your button,’ are the words of a bully wanting to kill millions of innocent Koreans on a whim. Let’s be clear, the U.S. government is the biggest bully on the international playground and has been for decades. The Trump administration portrays itself as the ‘victim’ of north Korean aggression, but at every turn the U.S. has increased hostility and tension on the peninsula.”

William Martinez of the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee spoke in Spanish and defended his home nation of El Salvador, which the president referred to as a “shithole” the week before.

With US Bank Stadium looming in the background, Sam Martinez, from the Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar and the Super Bowl Anti-racist and Anti-corporate Coalition, was the last rally speaker. He encouraged everyone to turn out to protest racism and police brutality on Feb. 4 at the Super Bowl.

After the rally outside Mayday Books, protesters marched to the Minnesota Republican Party Headquarters on Franklin Avenue to denounce Trump’s attacks on immigrants, women and Muslims and his frequent threats to use nuclear weapons against Korea. The neighborhood where the protesters marched is home to the Somali community, and local traffic and pedestrians were very supportive of the pro-immigrant, pro-Muslim, and anti-war messages of the marchers.