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1000 march in Minneapolis, oppose white supremacist attack in Charlottesville

By staff

Minneapolis march against white supremacy

Minneapolis, MN – More than 1000 people marched here August 14 to oppose white supremacy and honor the dead and injured in the aftermath of a white nationalist attack in Charlottesville, Virginia. The lead banner of the march read, “Minnesota against white supremacy.” Several protesters carried poster-sized images of Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old anti-racist murdered by a white supremacist in the August 12 attack.

The protest began with a rally outside of the Minnesota Republican Party office on Franklin Avenue, where speakers made the connection between the violent attacks by white supremacists and the racist policies and statements of Donald Trump.

The growing crowd then marched through the heavily Somali and East African immigrant neighborhood of Cedar-Riverside chanting, “When Muslims are under attack! What do we do? Stand up, fight back!” and “When immigrants are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!”

Many people came out in the streets to take pictures, wave, and join the march. One of Trump's last election campaign stops was in Minneapolis, where he specifically attacked Somali immigrants, claiming they pose a dangerous threat. Trump sent U.S. troops of the 101st Airborne Division to intervene in Somalia in April this year. In Minneapolis, the Somali community is the target of ongoing FBI and Department of Homeland Security surveillance and repression thru programs like Countering Violent Extremism (CVE).

Speakers pointed out some of the recent crimes committed locally by white supremacists. On August 5, in Bloomington, a first-ring suburb of the Twin Cities, the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center was bombed. In 2015, white supremacist Allen “Lance” Scarcella shot five African American men during a protest of the police murder of Jamar Clark. So far in 2017, right-wing racists have held at least three rallies at state capitol, which were drowned out by counter-protesters.

The large crowd then marched to downtown Minneapolis, stopping in front of the office of U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (DFL). In a challenge to Democrats, the speaker there demanded a 'zero tolerance' policy on the open functioning of white supremacist and neo-Nazi organizations in the U.S. and Minnesota.

Protesters then proceeded to the Hennepin County Jail and Minneapolis City Hall. Sheriff Richard Stanek, who has a history of racism, runs the jail. Stanek is currently under fire from Latino community activists for his active cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Sheriff Stanek is giving ICE full access to the county jail, leading to the deportation of large numbers of immigrants.

After the program ended, protesters nearby set fire to an effigy emblazoned with swastikas. They also raised an anti-fascist flag on a flagpole in front of the county jail.

Protester Linden Gawboy stated, “I was there to say that we are ready to fight against these loser white supremacists. We can’t be silent. We can’t hope them away, we can’t pray them away. We have to fight fire with fire.”

Many local groups turned out, including Communities United Against Police Brutality, Filipinx for Immigrant Rights and Racial Justice in MN (FIRM), Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the Anti-War Committee, The New North, Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAC), IWW General Defense Committee, AFSCME Local 2822, and the Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar.

#MinneapolisMN #Antiracism #Antifascism #CHarlottesville