Minneapolis stands against grand jury witch hunt

By staff |
January 25, 2011
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Protest in front of Minneapolis Federal Building
Protest in front of Minneapolis Federal Building (Fight Back! News/Staff)
 Jess Sundin speaking at January 25 rally against grand jury witch hunt
Anh Pham speaking at January 25 protest in Minneapolis
Jess Sundin speaking at January 25 rally against grand jury witch hunt (Fight Back! News/Staff)
Anh Pham speaking at January 25 protest in Minneapolis (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Minneapolis, MN – Chanting, “From Minnesota to Palestine, solidarity is not a crime,” about 250 demonstrators gathered at the Federal Building here, Jan. 25, to protest FBI and Grand Jury repression that is being directed against anti-war and Palestine solidarity activists. Protesters were forced to jostle for standing and picketing room between high banks of ice and snow on the sidewalks and plaza.

Nine Chicago activists who work in solidarity with Palestine received subpoenas to appear in front of the Grand Jury headed by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald on Jan. 25. Responding to this attack, the Committee to Stop FBI repression organized a national day of action to push back.

This latest round of subpoenas comes on the heels of Sept. 24 raids on anti-war, labor and international solidarity activists, in the course of which 14 were handed subpoenas to the grand jury, bringing the total number of subpoenas to 23 so far.

Speaking to the Minneapolis protest, Jess Sundin of the Minnesota Committee to Stop FBI Repression and the Anti-War Committee said, “It is people of conscience who are being targeted by this grand jury witch hunt. Today, we stand with the nine Chicago activists who are choosing not to testify. Six of them are Palestinians and all of them are Palestine solidarity activists. Their decision does not come easily and we don’t know yet what consequences we’ll all face.”

Sundin also condemned the legal framework that is being used to attack the activists, stating, “We will not do anything to help with the prosecution of fellow activists for violations of an unjust law - the law banning what they call ‘material support to foreign terrorist organizations.’

This law criminalizes simple acts of solidarity that should be protected by our constitutional rights to freedom of association, speech, travel and dissent. These freedoms are also protected under international law. “

Sundin continued, “What activities are we talking about? Demanding freedom for political prisoners who are held under inhumane conditions. Hosting speakers from unions and other people’s organizations in Palestine, Colombia or elsewhere. Traveling on solidarity delegations to witness the effects of U.S. foreign policy and bring back stories of resistance. And yes, sometimes, making small contributions to the places hardest hit by U.S. policies - whether it’s taking medicines to Iraq or sending token contributions to the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, which has hosted solidarity delegations, while doing the important work of running daycare centers, providing job training and other support to women refugees, and working for equality for Palestinian women.”

Near the end of the event, a protest organizer Cherrene Horazuk called the nine Minnesotans who received subpoenas to the front of the rally. Stating that the nine constituted an “honor roll for the progressive movement,” Horazuk said that every effort would be made to keep the anti-war and international soldiery activists out of jail.