COLUMBUS, Ga. – Thousands of people are coming to Columbus this weekend to protest the School of the Americas – now known as WHINSEC.
WHINSEC is a school at Fort Benning that provides education and training to military, law enforcement, and civilians of the Western Hemisphere.
They will be protesting at the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin and at the Gates of Fort Benning.
Friday, the group is meeting at the Columbus Convention Center for anti-militarization social justice-themed workshops.
Saturday morning they’ll be meeting at the Stewart Immigration Detention Center to demand it’s closure.
There are 1800 immigrants they say are being treated unfairly under deplorable conditions.
Then on Sunday morning, they’ll be protesting at the Gates of Fort Benning.
Hendrik Voss, SOA Watch National Organizer says, “We have to take an honest look at the violence the United States is exporting all over the world. If we don’t do that, nothing is going to change.”
Voss also says the FBI has been using its counter-terrorism authority to keep the group until FBI Survellience for the past ten years even though they’re a non-violent group.
We talked to Col. Keith Anthony who runs WHINES. He says WHINSEC is no longer the SOA and they now have more of an emphasis on human rights and helping our neighbors with disaster relief.
The first protest was November 1990 after a tragedy in El Salvador where a 16 year old girl, mother, and 6 priests were killed.
Protesters say the massacre was led by SOA graduates.