Press Conference Kicks Off Annual Weekend Action to Close the SOA/WHINSEC

#media_7339;left#Today in Columbus, Georgia, the annual weekend-long action to close the School of Americas at Fort Benning began with a press conference, music and speakers. Spirits were high among the crowd of thousands gathered the school, renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHISC) in January 2001, even amidst new heightened security measures bemoaned by long-time participants, who are generally surprised that after more than 10 years of peaceful protests, such measures are considered necessary. For the first time ever, protest participants were greeted by a 10 ft chainlink fence confining them to the road and the Ft. Benning sign shrouded in a tarp. [Photos]. However, the demonstration went on undeterred- an early morning handful surging to thousands by noon- as people arrived from around the world by plane, busload, and even some by foot. All eagerly awaited the puppetista pageant scheduled for the afternoon. [Puppet Prep]

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