SOA Watch Border Encuentro in Tucson and Eloy, AZ

This past weekend was the second SOA Watch Border Encuentro that was held in Tucson and Eloy, AZ, and Nogales, a city that is split by the US-Mexico border. SOA Watch is an organization that has advocated since 1990 for the closing of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly known as the US Army School of Americas. The annual SOA Watch protests were held at Ft. Benning in Georgia until 2016 when the protest was moved to the border town of Nogales.

The demands of the protest from the SOA Watch website are

  • An end to US economic, military and political intervention in Latin America
  • Demilitarization and divestment of the borders
  • An end to the racist systems of oppression that criminalize and kill migrants, refugees, and communities of color
  • Respect, dignity, justice and the right to self-determination of communities
  • An end to Plan Mérida and the Alliance for Prosperity

The weekend started with several protest groups from all over the United States and Latin America meeting up for workshops and training at the Tucson YWCA then a march and rally at the Federal Court building. The rally there was to bring attention to Operation Streamline, a program that takes a zero-tolerance approach to illegal immigration, where up to 70 people can be charged at the same time. The first offense is a misdemeanor and re-entry is a felony.

After the rally protesters drove to Eloy, AZ where the Eloy Detention Center is located and where many undocumented immigrants who have been tried through Operation Streamline are held. As the group gathered the prisoners could be heard banging on the windows. A stage was set up in an open area across the street from the detention center where a vigil was held. After the speakers and music finished protesters passed out glow sticks and candles to rally closer to the detention center.

The next day protesters marched from the Hotel Americana to the border wall that splits the city of Nogales where the group split at the Nogales/Morley Gate. There were stages on both sides of the wall where rallies were held on Saturday and Sunday, and breakout workshops and sessions on Saturday on both sides of the border.

I will have a highlight video up in the next few days, but it will be on Patreon before it is posted here.

If you like my work you can support me on Patreon and I can cover more stories like this. https://www.patreon.com/DanielShular

 

Protesters march through the intersection in front of the Federal Court building in Tucson, AZ after a day of workshops and training to kick off the SOA Watch Border Encuentro on November 10, 2017.

Protesters march through the intersection in front of the Federal Court building in Tucson, AZ after a day of workshops and training to kick off the SOA Watch Border Encuentro on November 10, 2017.

A group plays ukuleles while protesters march through intersection in front of the Federal Court building in Tucson, AZ after a day of workshops and training to kick off the SOA Watch Border Encuentro on November 10, 2017.

Protesters march through the intersection in front of the Federal Court building in Tucson, AZ after a day of workshops and training to kick off the SOA Watch Border Encuentro on November 10, 2017.

Protesters march through the intersection in front of the Federal Court building in Tucson, AZ after a day of workshops and training to kick off the SOA Watch Border Encuentro on November 10, 2017.

A protester carries an anti-Sheriff Joe Arpaio sign during a march around the intersection in front of the Federal Court building in Tucson, AZ on the first day of the SOA Watch Border Encuentro on November 10, 2017.

Protesters hold up flags from different Latin American countries in front of the Federal Court building during the first day of the SOA Watch Border Encuentro in Tucson, AZ on November 10, 2017.

Tucson police stand outside of the crowd as they gather for a rally at the Federal Court building during the first day of the SOA Watch Border Encuentro in Tucson, AZ on November 10, 2017.

A banner is held for people who have died trying to cross through the Sonora desert into the United States during a rally on the first day of the SOA Watch Border Encuentro in Tucson, AZ on November 10, 2017.

Guards stand at the entrance to the Eloy Detention Center as the convoy of protesters traveling from Tucson arrive. Eloy, AZ, November 10, 2017.

The convoy of protesters traveling from Tucson arrive for a vigil at the Eloy Detention Center in Eloy, AZ on November 10, 2017.

A band plays and a demonstrator dances as protesters gather for a vigil at the Eloy Detention Center in Eloy, AZ on November 10, 2017.

A band plays as protesters gather for a vigil at the Eloy Detention Center in Eloy, AZ on November 10, 2017.

The Peace Prophets perform during the vigil at the Eloy Detention Center in Eloy, AZ on November 10, 2017.

Protesters light candles for the vigil held at the Eloy Detention Center in Eloy, AZ on November 10, 2017.

Organizers pass out glow sticks to protesters as the group prepares to march toward the Eloy Detention Center in Eloy, AZ on November 10, 2017.

Demonstrators stand in front of the Eloy Detention Center with signs made with lights that say solidarity in Spanish on November 10, 2017 in Eloy, Arizona.

Protesters line up in front of the Eloy Detention Center, a private prison where undocumented immigrants are held. November 10, 2017 in Eloy, Arizona.

Protesters line up in front of the Eloy Detention Center, a private prison where undocumented immigrants are held. November 10, 2017 in Eloy, Arizona.

Protesters line up in front of the Eloy Detention Center, a private prison where undocumented immigrants are held. November 10, 2017 in Eloy, Arizona.

Protesters line up in front of the Eloy Detention Center, a private prison where undocumented immigrants are held. November 10, 2017 in Eloy, Arizona.

Protesters gather on the sidewalk in front of the Eloy Detention Center, a private prison where undocumented immigrants are held. November 10, 2017, in Eloy, Arizona.

Protesters gather on the sidewalk in front of the Eloy Detention Center, a private prison where undocumented immigrants are held. November 10, 2017, in Eloy, Arizona.

Protesters gather on the sidewalk in front of the Eloy Detention Center, a private prison where undocumented immigrants are held. November 10, 2017, in Eloy, Arizona.

Protesters gather on the sidewalk in front of the Eloy Detention Center, a private prison where undocumented immigrants are held. November 10, 2017, in Eloy, Arizona.

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