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June 29, 07
V 35 Issue 26

 
 
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Counter protest of anti-immigrant rally held
Counter protest of anti-immigrant rally held
March from Capitol Hill to Federal Courthouse successful in thwarting anti-immigrant plans

Chanting "No Minutemen, no KKK, no fascist U.S.A.," a colorful, multiracial contingent in Seattle's annual Gay Pride March on Saturday, June 23, was cheered loudly by onlookers. Carrying a banner with the slogan "Love knows no borders: Unite for Queer and immigrant rights," the group announced their plans to turn off at the end of the Parade route and march from Seattle's Gay Capitol Hill neighborhood to downtown where anti-immigrant groups, including the Minutemen, were planning a rally that same day.

Waving rainbow banners and flags representing many nations, the contingent picked up supporters along the way and converged with other anti-fascist protesters at the Federal Building, just as the nationalist "March for America" reached the plaza.

"Police prevented us from entering the plaza, so we set up a picket directly across the street and chanted at top volume, drowning out the racist rally speakers," said Elias Holtz, a young Gay protest leader with the Freedom Socialist Party, "and the Minutemen packed up after 45 minutes and left."

Afterward, the diverse crowd of Gays and straights, immigrants, Latinos, African Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans and whites celebrated with an impromptu victory rally. "I'm so proud of what we accomplished," smiled Gary Perry, a Black community activist who had marched down from the Pride March, "and it's refreshing to see the socialist, Gay, labor, peace and church groups working together here. The immigrant haters are the same people who also oppose Gay equality, reproductive freedom and the antiwar movement."

"We had planned the Love Knows No Borders contingent beforehand," said Radical Women Organizer Christina López, "but when we learned of the Minutemen's plans three days before Gay Pride ... we, along with the Freedom Socialist Party, put out a call for a counter protest.

"The Seattle Anti-Imperialist Committee and union members from Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity joined us on Capitol Hill, and then we met up downtown with the International Socialist Organization, who had followed the Minutemen from their original meeting point at the Space Needle.

"It shows the importance of a united front, because in just two days we were able to muster 100 counter protesters, which equaled the number of people the Minutemen turned out after weeks of organizing."

The "March for America" was part of a national effort by a coalition of anti-immigration groups, including the Minutemen. A Northwest white-power organization also publicized the Seattle event on their website. "March for America" opposes amnesty, and calls for securing the borders and "protecting American culture and the English language." Although Minutemen have been organizing in Washington State for some time along the Canadian border and in the eastern part of the state where there is a large Latino farm worker population, this is the first major action they have attempted in Seattle.

A Radical Woman press release

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