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Minnesota protests Trump on International Human Rights Day

By Meredith Aby

Minnesota march against Trump on International Human Rights Day.

Minneapolis, MN – Dec. 10 marks International Human Rights Day. The Minnesota Anti-War Committee had a short rally at Lake Street and Nicollet Avenue, followed by a march of 200 people to denounce Trump's agenda of hate and racism.

Around the world, Human Rights Day day is known for people rising up and speaking out. The MN Anti-War Committee organizes a Human Rights Day protest every year, but Anti-War Committee member Jennie Eisert notes that this year organizers felt a pressing need for a protest for human rights, “We know that the anti-war movement needs to be a part of the growing movement against Trump and his agenda of bigotry and racism. We need to stand firm against his rhetoric of fear and hate both at home and abroad. We’ve heard his beating the drums of war to bomb the Middle East out of existence. We’ve already seen an increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes. We will not stand aside and wait to see what he has in store for this nation. We will be a part of the world’s voice in saying ‘No’ to Trump and we will continue to do so through his whole presidency!”

At the rally speakers from the Anti-War Committee, Black Lives Matter Saint Paul, People of Color Union Members, the MN Immigrant Rights Action Committee and the Council on American Islamic Relations spoke out against Trump’s promises of war, increased police powers, union bashing and anti-Muslim bigotry.

Marchers then took the streets on a cold, brisk day and got honks and cheers from folks in cars and on the sidewalks. Signs and chants demanded rights for immigrants and Muslims and an end to bigotry and war. The march concluded with an indoor rally at All God’s Children Church in Minneapolis’ Powderhorn neighborhood.

Sarah Martin, of Women Against Military Madness, was the first speaker at the indoor rally. “Last Sunday I and others here today were lucky enough to be at the Oceti Sakowin camp at Standing Rock as the announcement came that the Army Corp of Engineers had denied the permit to the Dakota Access Pipeline Company to drill under the Missouri River and ordered a new environmental impact study. This is a great victory and it happened because of the resistance of the water protectors – the Standing Rock tribe, hundreds of tribes and native nations from around the world as well as non-native supporters. But the Water Protectors understand and know the struggle is not over and the company will use every possible means to complete this $3.8 billion pipeline. And it will have the full support of Trump.” She concluded with, “We need jobs, healthcare, education and an end to racist police violence here at home, not U.S. wars abroad and not new pipelines.”

Craig Wood and Barry Reisch from Veterans for Peace Chapter 27 and JR Bobick, a leader in the Native Lives Matter movement, who had all recently returned from North Dakota also spoke about the human rights abuses they witnessed committed by the U.S. government at Standing Rock.

Stephanie Taylor from Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) at the University of Minnesota also spoke about the dangers of the upcoming Trump presidency, “Women have fought for centuries for control over our own bodies, especially when it comes to reproductive rights and we continue to struggle. Trump seeks not to claim these victories that we’ve created for ourselves, like many politicians do, but instead, to toss them out into the dust bin of history, destroying futures, families and quality of life for many individuals.” Taylor continued, “It there is a silver lining presenting itself in the fact of an incoming racist, sexist and homophobic president-elect, it is this: it is the people, not politicians, who are the makers of history. Our movements will become emboldened to move this country forward – this is just a challenge and we will win!”

The event concluded with speakers from Saint Paul Public Schools who spoke out against the expansion of JROTC programs in their schools and from the Committee to Stop FBI Repression to encourage protesters to travel to Detroit for Rasmea Odeh’s upcoming trial on Jan. 10.

The Anti-War Committee called for everyone to mobilize to march with the immigrant rights movement in the twin cities on Jan. 20, Trump’s inauguration day.

The protest was organized by the MN Anti-War Committee and was endorsed by Black Lives Matter St. Paul, Blue Lies Matter, MN Immigrant Rights Action Committee, MN Neighbors for Justice, MN Peace Action Coalition, Natives Lives Matter, Native Lives, Rad Azns, St. Paul for Justice, Welfare Rights Committee, Women Against Military Madness, Women's Prison Book Project, Veterans for Peace, UMN Students for a Democratic Society, and the Young Muslim Collective.

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