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Minneapolis Protesters Tell Obama to Stop FBI Attacks on Anti-War Movement

By staff |
October 25, 2010
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Banner at 10/23 action calling on Obama to stop FBI repression
Banner at 10/23 action outside President Obama's speech at the University of Minnesota, calling on Obama to stop FBI repression & grand jury against anti-war & international solidarity activists. (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Minneapolis, MN - On Oct. 23, anti-war and free speech activists made their presence felt outside of President Obama's speech at the University of Minnesota. A group of activists held banners on University Avenue, while others handed out more than 6000 flyers and got hundreds of signatures on postcards calling on President Obama to stop the FBI and Grand Jury attacks on the anti-war movement.

President Obama was at the University of Minnesota to speak at a campaign rally for Democratic senatorial candidate Mark Dayton, who is in a tight race against the extreme right-wing Republican Tom Emmer.

Thousands of people stood for hours in a long line that snaked around a large part of the University's East Bank campus, waiting for hours to get in to the free rally featuring President Obama. At first, security guards tried to stop activists from handing out flyers to the people waiting in line, claiming that the blocks-long line of people on public sidewalks at a public university was part of a ‘Secret Service Special Event,’ where normal free speech rights don’t apply. But after activists continued to hand out flyers anyway and confronted security guards with the threat of a free speech lawsuit, Secret Service agents backed down and allowed the leafleting to continue.

Obama ran for president on an anti-war image and now under his watch the FBI is engaged in one of the largest repressive operations against anti-war activists in recent history. On Sept. 24, the FBI raided seven houses and an anti-war office in multiple cities. They subpoenaed 14 anti-war activists to appear before a grand jury fishing expedition in Chicago, allegedly investigating ‘material support for terrorism.’ Those targeted are well-known anti-war activists who say the U.S. government is massively funding violence and terror in other countries, while the only ‘weapon’ they have used is their words and organizing to speak out against militaristic U.S. foreign policy.

All who have been subpoenaed have ‘pleaded the fifth,’ meaning they refused to testify before the Grand Jury. Many have referred to the Grand Jury as a rigged fishing expedition. They insist they have done nothing wrong and are being targeted for being visible critics of U.S. foreign policy. The Grand Jury continues to operate, with new subpoenas and jail time for non-cooperation or indictments possible at any moment. In response, activists are calling on President Obama to stop FBI repression and end the Grand Jury against anti-war activists.

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