Minneapolis, MN – The Twin Cities-based Anti-War Committee marked the upcoming International Human Rights Day on Dec. 6 with a community march to highlight the U.S. government’s abysmal human rights record. Chants and speakers addressed the recent grand jury decisions in Ferguson and New York, the U.S. role in funding war and destruction abroad and the consequences of these policies here at home on social spending. Protesters rallied at Bryant Square Park, marched on Lake Street and then had a concluding rally at Karmel West.
Meredith Aby-Keirstead, an organizer with the Anti-War Committee, explained the importance of this year’s rally, “It’s important to talk about the U.S.’s horrible human rights record every year, but this year we have seen thousands of people in Minnesota take to the streets demanding an end to U.S.-sponsored human rights abuses in Palestine and to demand an end to police murders of African Americans in the U.S. There is a relationship between the warfare the U.S. sponsors abroad and what is happening in communities of color throughout this country and people want to take to the streets to demand social justice and real change.”
Laye Kwamina, a Minneapolis Southwest High School student, read an original poem which moved audience members to tears about the realities for African American men in the U.S. Kwamina is one of the organizers for the Dec. 8 student rally at the downtown Minneapolis Library against police brutality and he encouraged participants to continue protesting against police brutality.
Karmel Sabri, a Palestinian American activist with the Anti-War Committee explained at the closing rally how U.S. tax dollars sponsor Israeli military human rights abuses.
Jim Dimock, an anti-war activist and professor at Minnesota State University Mankato, spoke about human rights conditions in Colombia and the disastrous role that U.S. economic and military aid play in fanning the flames of Colombia’s civil war. The Anti-War Committee will be holding a more in-depth report-back with Dimock in January.
Mary Beaudoin, editor of the Women Against Military Madness newsletter, attended the recent trial of Rasmea Odeh and spoke out against the countless injustices visited on Odeh in her trial. Beaudoin called on the protesters to continue to demand #justice4Rasmea.
The protest was organized by the Minnesota Anti-War Committee and was endorsed by the Coalition for Palestinian Rights, the MN Immigrant Rights Action Coalition, the MN Peace Action Coalition, U of M Students for a Democratic Society, U of M Students for Justice in Palestine, Women Against Military Madness and the Welfare Rights Committee.