The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Mac students protest Minnesota's ties to Israel

By Amy Ledig

The Minnesota Trade Office has found itself the target of protests against trade agreements and ties with Israel, and Macalester students are getting in on the action.The first protest took place on Jan. 23, when a group of 12 people entered the Trade office, located in the First National Bank building in St. Paul, on Jan. 23 to voice their opposition to Minnesota’s trade dealings with Israel in light of the war in Gaza. The demonstrators had a statement of demands calling for “the immediate end of all Minnesotan business with Israel because it is the business of massacre, it is the business of killing children, of killing doctors, the business of chemical warfare, of starvation.”

“The sit in lasted for 45 minutes, and was deemed a success by the demonstrators because the employees of the Trade Office were unable to go on with their work for that time, and all of the state offices on that floor were made to realize their complicity with the atrocities in Gaza as workers for the state,” Nick Huelster ’11 said.

When St. Paul Police arrived on the scene the demonstrators left.

The second incident happened in much the same way. Hadley Pope ’09, who was at the protest, said that a little under 25 people, of which 10 to 15 were Macalester students, returned to the office in a follow up protest.

“The state has really actively pursued trade with Israel,” Pope said, adding that Minnesota companies have made $125 million in profits from trade with the Middle Eastern nation she called an apartheid state. The Trade Office has drawn the protesters’ attention because it serves as the middleman, facilitating these deals, she said.

Pope said that protesters gathered outside the building with a banner to pass out informational sheets and then tried to get into the office. This time they were stopped by security presence and were not able to gain access. Huestler added that they then chanted in the lobby, leaving when the police were called.

Pope said there is no specific follow-up planned, but seemed committed to the cause, saying that the U.S. needs to put an end to the violence in Gaza.

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