20,000 protest SOA

Over 20,000 people gathered outside the gates of Fort Benning, GA, on Nov. 18 to demand the closing of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), a US Army training school for Latin American military and security personnel formerly known as the School of the Americas (SOA). Eleven protesters were arrested as they crossed into the grounds of the fort.

The annual protest started in 1990 with about 20 people; by last year attendance had reached 22,000. More than 200 people have served time in federal prisons for civil disobedience at the protests, which now take place around the US and in Latin America. This year there were simultaneous protests in Santiago, Chile; Tucson, Arizona, where three people were arrested; Berkeley and Monterey, California; and Toronto. Meanwhile, Argentina, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Uruguay and Venezuela have all announced plans to stop sending soldiers to the school. (Truthout Report, Nov. 19)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Nov. 26

See our last post on the SOA.