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‘Never Again is Now’ protest shuts down ICE in Minneapolis

By Brad Sigal |
July 31, 2019
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Twin Cities protest demand closure of Trump's concentration camps.
Twin Cities protest demand closure of Trump's concentration camps. (Photo by Brad Sigal)

Minneapolis, MN - A few hundred protesters blocked off all roads outside of the Whipple Federal Building here at a 'Never Again is Now' protest July 30, shutting down business as usual to demand that the government close the concentration camps at the U.S.-México border.

Hundreds of cars were blocked from leaving the building where Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is housed for several hours at the end of the work day. At the end of the action around 30 people were cited and released by Hennepin County cops.

The protest was organized by Jewish community members opposed to the camps at the U.S.-Mexico border. It was modeled on similar recent ‘Never Again’ actions targeting ICE offices in other cities.

For about four hours, protesters grouped at four locations blocked streets, sang songs, and chanted in the hot sun. Chants included “Close the camps!” and “Honk to abolish ICE!” They also sang some traditional Jewish songs.

While most people trying to leave the building waited patiently, a few drivers were very belligerent to the protesters. This produced standoffs with a few drivers who tried to recklessly drive through the crowd, but were blocked and then stuck for hours in the midst of the protest.

The protest’s slogan ‘Never Again is Now’ is based on the ‘Never Again’ slogan that is a cornerstone of political education for young Jewish people, referring to never letting another Holocaust happen. While some interpret that narrowly to mean ‘never again to us,’ others interpret it broadly as an obligation to oppose all injustice and oppression so that it means ‘never again to anyone.’

Right-wing politicians have tried to attack people who call the border camps ‘concentration camps’ as supposedly anti-Semitic. But large numbers of historians and experts and increasing numbers of Jewish community members have said the camps are in fact are concentration camps and there is an obligation to resist their spread and growth because they could lead to worse. They point out that the Nazis’ infamous concentration camps did not start out as death camps, they evolved into that over time. The ‘Never Again is Now’ protests are giving a collective voice to this point of view within the Jewish community.