Protesting to bring thousands to Columbus

By Curtis McCloud -   bio | email

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -For four years Tam Ngyen has come to Columbus to stand with thousands of protesters at the gates of Fort Benning, this year won't be any different.

"Tomorrow's protest is a vigil, it's to commemorate all those that have died at the hand of graduates of the School of Americas specifically those who have died in Latin American countries," Ngyen said.

Ngyen is working with Puppetista's to create dramatic images for tomorrow big event. It's an annual effort put on by the School of America's Watch group. Protesters come together at the gates of Fort Benning to shut down the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation formally the School of Americas on post.

The vigil and protest has been going on for twenty years. It started after graduates of the then School of Americas killed 14 year old Celina Ramos, her mother Elba, and six Jesuit priests in El Salvador

Protestors claim those same tactics are being taught at the school today, groups from north and Central America have united to call for closing of the institution all together.

"We have thousands of people from all over the country, who are coming together to speak out against injustice, speak out against violence, and speak out against the school of the Americas," Hendrick Voss said.

SOA Watch director of Communications Hendrick Voss tells us that people come every year to be heard and simply want the school to be closed.

"It's a big coalition of groups, that is standing up for human rights, that is standing up for justice in the Americas," Voss said.

"We don't move on because, there is a memory that needs to be remember and that's the memory of all those that have died," Ngyen said.

©2010 WTVM. All rights reserved.