About 300 students marched in downtown Minneapolis Friday afternoon to protest the war in Iraq and the military’s use of recruiters in public schools. Sponsored by Youth Against War and Racism, and Socialist Alternative, organizers said students from more than 30 schools around the metro participated.
The students marched around Government Plaza in front of Minneapolis City Hall, chanting: “Student money for jobs and education, not for war and occupation” and “Hey recruiters, we’re no fools, get your lies out of our schools!” A circle of students banged on drums while other students danced. A young man with a guitar and a mohawk performed songs for the crowd. Protest signs read: “Jesus was a peacemaker,” “Bring them home now. Take care of them when they get here” and “Military recruiters out of our schools!”
Magdelena from South High in Minneapolis said, “We’re here because we need to tell the country that we want our schools back from recruiters, we want our streets back from politicians and we want our world back from corrupt corporations.”
Kelsey from Perpich Center for Arts Education in Golden Valley was concerned about the amount of death occurring in Iraq. “It has been the bloodiest year in the war,” she said. “It’s time for us to say no. It’s time for us to band together and say bring the troops home now.”
Marey from Central High School in St. Paul was there because of the cost of the war and the issues that are getting ignored. “Where are they getting all this extra money [for the war]?” she asked. “The one system that needs the money the most, the education system. We are packed into classrooms; education programs are being shut down. I want those education programs back, I want less people in my classes and I want my school to stay open. We are here because we know what this war is doing to our schools. End this war so we can get the education we need.”
Members of Iraq Veterans Against the War and Socialist Alternative addressed the crowd briefly. Brandon Day told his story of serving in Iraq. He signed up after Sept. 11 and served two tours in Iraq. He said he is angry that so many of his friends made the ultimate sacrifice for a war built on lies. “There are people who will tell you that you can’t support the troops and oppose the war,” he told the students. “This is an insidious lie and it hurts my ears to hear it. If someone tells you that, you can be sure more lies will come out of their mouth.”
The students then continued the march through downtown toward a rally at Augsburg College, chanting, “It’s bullshit. Get off it. This war is for profit. Guns and bombs and occupation do not equal liberation.”