18,000 PEOPLE GATHER TO CLOSE DOWN THE SCHOOL OF THE AMERICAS:
The School of the Americas is a long running military academy now centred on Fort Benning, a "school" that has become infamous as a "torture academy" as it trains Latin American soldiers in the techniques necessary to serve the American Empire to the best of their ability. This morning 18,000 people gathered and filled up Fort Benning Drive, the main entrance to Fort Benning, to express their outrage over what this "school" teaches and to demand that it be closed down. The crowd was addressed by American coordinators of the campaign, prisoners of conscience who had been arrested at previous actions against the SOA, victims of torture and several Latin American union activists and workers for indigenous rights. A festive atmosphere prevailed despite repeated buzzing of the crowd by Army helicopters. Music and dance were made possible by the likes of Charlie King, Emma's Revolution, Rising Appalacahia, Holly Near and many others. the event was coordinated with other smaller gatherings elsewhere in Canada and the USA. The closing for today was a Puppet Pageant held as a tribute to Rufina Amaya, the only survivor of the El Mozote massacre in El Salvador who passed away earlier this year of heart failure.
The events will continue tomorrow, November 18th. To follow what is happening go the the School of the Americas Watch site.