For immediate release: Thursday, April 22 (TODAY)
Today, coordinated protests have been carried out at military recruiting centers across the Twin Cities and in Mankato. Zero Recruitment Day will be capped off by the Anti-War Committee, which has plans to carry out disobedience at a St. Paul National Guard recruiting and training center. They will begin with a picket at 3:30 at 12th and Cedar, near the State Capital Building.
Morning rush hour drivers into downtown Minneapolis were greeted by several banners across the interstates reading, “Jobs Not War” and “Recruiters Lie People Die.”
More than 50 people then gathered at Knollwood Mall, which houses military recruiting offices, for a press conference to launch Zero Recruitment Day. “We are here today to oppose the illegal occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan by resisting military recruitment across the Twin Cities. We initiated Zero Recruitment Day to expose the lies that recruiters tell about serving and about the war,” said Anti-War Committee member, Misty Rowan.
She continued, “A surge of combat forces has brought civilian casualties to an all time high [in Afghanisan], just as footage has surfaced of U.S. soldiers firing on unarmed Iraqi civilians – a criminal act that the U.S. military is denying responsibility for. Our government continues to spend billions of our tax dollars on war abroad while at home we’re faced with economic crisis… Military recruiters then use these conditions to prey upon our youth, disproportionately targeting those from low income families and people of color.”
Members of the University of Minnesota Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) spoke next. Tracy Molm said, “Don’t enlist, resist! It’s time that we start exposing these lies because no longer can we have students and youth come back broken because of the lies that they have been sent to perpetrate in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world.” She added, “It’s really important that it’s Earth Day. One of the things that is most devastating to the earth is war and occupations. Iraq and Afghanistan are devastated lands and today we remember that this is part of why we resist war.”
After the press conference, Grandma’s Peace Brigade continued their presence outside the Knollwood recruitment offices. Others headed for the University of Minnesota. Mia Overly then invited protesters to join SDS for a rally at the campus ROTC center and a march to an event with Karl Rove. “Today at the U of M we have a war criminal on campus. Karl Rove (of the Bush Administration) is coming to campus speaking at noon. As part of Zero Recruitment Day, we’re gonna be protesting having our money go to war criminals.”
Before leaving Knollwood Mall, members of Twin Cities Peace Campaign-Focus on Iraq and Alliant Action called to report that they had successfully shut down military recruitment at center in West St. Paul. Find more information about these and other actions on our website at http://antiwarcommittee.org/ZRD/ZRDjoin.html or follow us on Twitter (text “Follow ZRD” to 40404).