Funny Melon Interviews From Tacoma Mall Protest
by Joe La Sac
Alas, a less-funny article in order to fill you in:
Tacoma anti-war activists appear to have successfully “shut down” the military recruiting center at the Tacoma Mall for the day, March 15th 2008. The action marked 5th Year Anniversary of the invasion of Iraq in 2003, which is officially on Wednesday, March 19th. According to the Answer Coalition, a group which organizes national protests, that will be a “day of mass-resistance” in major US cities.
The Tacoma organizers had originally planned to pass out fliers inside the mall on Saturday, but seeing as the mall’s policy (owned by Simon Malls) would not allow this without arrests, the activity centered around the recruiting station itself, where the interaction between the pro- and anti-war groups was at times fierce. Unlike the Berkeley counter-recruitment demonstration last month, however, this one remained peaceful.
A few days earlier Fort Lewis had issued a “Force Protection Advisory”, warning civilians and soldiers to stay clear of the Tacoma Mall on Saturday. This is discussed in the video. Melonites hear there was also a fashion show going on in the mall as well.
Observing that the ratio of protester to counter-protester in Tacoma was something like 2:3, the Melonites decided to ask how the counter-demonstrators heard about it and why they came out in greater numbers than the anti-war organizers. High school students, college students, veterans, and teachers helped organized the anti-war protest, while the internets and radios helped organize the counter-protest.
Tacoma has one of the largest JROTC and ROTC programs on the West Coast, with every high school participating. 179 soldiers from Fort Lewis have died in Iraq since 2003, although most have deployed to Iraq in the last two years.
After posting the video, a UPS alum who is in Switzerland at the moment emailed me and said that footage from Tacoma’s protest made international news, as news organizations are fishing for images of the March 15th actions in order to explain the official anniversary of the war on March 19th. The footage they were showing in the background was from Tacoma. Go Tacoma!