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Minnesota: Protest demands BAE systems leave Maple Grove

By Meredith Aby

Minnesota protest against corporation arming apartheid Israel, BAE Systems.  | Fight Back! News/Meredith Aby

Maple Grove, MN – On April 6, the Free Palestine Coalition held a rally and march of 100 people outside the Arbor Lakes shopping mall in Maple Grove to protest the upcoming installment of BAE Systems in the Twin Cities. Protesters wanted to highlight the role of BAE Systems in the deaths of tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza since October 7. BAE Systems makes the F-15, F-16 and F-35 fighter jets that Israel uses in their attacks on Gaza.

On March 18, the Maple Grove city council unanimously approved BAE Systems’ request for a $600,000 aid package to make soil corrections before their warehouse installment. The warehouse would be a 248,000 square foot project in the area of the U.S. Highway 169 and Interstate 94 junction.

BAE Systems is one of multiple weapons manufacturers the Minnesota State Board of Investments (SBI) has invested public sector worker pensions in. The MN Anti-War Committee has been leading a campaign to get the SBI to divest the over $3 billion it has invested in Israeli bonds and businesses and in weapons manufacturers that profit from the genocide of Palestinians.

Donia Abu, a student organizer with Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of Minnesota, spoke to the crowd before the march to explain the importance of protesting against BAE Systems, “Since the siege on Gaza, BAE has been involved in providing the drones, jets, tanks, missiles and explosives used to bomb homes and kill Palestinians. Their weapons have also been used in the ongoing six-month genocide where the Zionist Israeli regime has murdered over 33,000 Palestinians.”

Abu has family in Gaza and many of her family members have been murdered by Israeli military attacks since October. The crowd was visibly moved by her personal story of her aunt’s recent death after surviving a missile attack and having multiple of her limbs removed.

Abu closed with, “Over the past six months I have been saying I will not let the murder of my family go in vain. I will not let the murder of over 33,000 Palestinians go in vain and that is why I am here today protesting this company. And as disgusting and frustrating this genocide has been, we must be steadfast in our efforts to protest and apply pressure, because every action we have taken to protest Israeli apartheid and Zionism is a step closer to liberation. Students at the University of Minnesota voted overwhelming in favor of BDS and for calling on the university to stop investing in companies like BAE systems and this is a step closer to liberation. Us being out here and protesting this company and letting them know that thousands of people do not approve the construction of this building is a step closer to liberation.”

At the end of the protest attendees were encouraged to attend the United National Antiwar Conference in Saint Paul, where many speakers from around the U.S. and Canada will discuss the growing moment of opposition to the genocide in Gaza. For more information go to

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