SOA Watch Prepares for Annual Demonstration at Ft. Benning Gates Print
Columbus, GA - On November 16th - 18th more than 10,000 people will travel to Columbus, Georgia to call for the closure of the School of the Americas. Last year, an estimated 8000 people gathered at Ft. Benning's main entrance for the annual protest. Human rights groups, Catholic Nuns, college students, union leaders and civil liberty advocates have gathered every November at the main gates of Ft. Benning since 1990. Demonstration organizers expect more people to attend this year and are in the process of applying for a permit outside of Ft. Benning’s main entrance.

The US Army School of the Americas has trained over 60,000 Latin American soldiers in commando tactics, military intelligence, psychological operations and other counter-insurgency warfare. The school has been dubbed "School of Assassins" by a major Panamanian newspaper due to the well-documented trail of blood and suffering in every country where SOA graduates have returned. Growing pressure from Congress and Human Right’s organizations forced the school to change its name to the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. Currently, bill HR 1810 continues to build momentum to officially close the school.

The movement to close the SOA remains undeterred by the name change. "The SOA by any other name is still a School of Assassins," said Fr. Roy Bourgeois, founder of SOA Watch, the grassroots group working to close the school. SOA Watch members plan to return to Ft. Benning year after year until the SOA is closed once and for all.