STATEN ISLAND, NY – This Friday, January 18, 2008, members of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS) and the Port Militarization Resistance (PMR) project, Midatlantic Region, are holding coordinated protests in Manhattan and Staten Island.
The protests are timed to mark the fifth iteration of the Iraq Moratorium, a national protest against the Iraq War that happens every third Friday of the month. The issue is the use of Howland Hook, Staten Island as a “Seaport of Embarkation” (SPOE) by the U.S. Army. Howland Hook, aka the New York Container Terminal (NYCT), has recently been used to facilitate the transfer of military materiel and personnel to war-torn Iraq. Organizers are demanding an end of this “misuse” of the Port of New York.
Friday’s actions will begin with a protest outside the Port Authority in Manhattan by Queens College SDS; will continue with fliering on both Staten Island Ferry Terminals – Whitehall/South Ferry (NYC) and St. George (SI), and; will conclude with a vigil on the steps of Staten Island’s Borough Hall.
The SDS students will assemble at Theatre Row Diner, 424 West 42nd St between 9th and 10th Avenue at 8 am. They will conduct an informational picket, distributing fliers, outside the Manhattan Port Authority from 9 am to 10:30 am. The terminal is located one block west of Times Square, occupying the blocks between Eighth and Ninth Avenues, from 40th to 42nd Streets.
Rachel Haut of Queens College SDS (Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)
“Our peers in the National Guard are being sent Iraq to every month, and the administration is using our ports to ship their wepons. Its time for us to stand up against deployments – we need the national guard here – and stand up against military shipments in our ports,” said Rachel Haut, an organizer with the Queens College chapter of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS).
The MDS activists will flier at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, in St. George, from 3 – 7pm. They will gather in front of Water Edge Cafe inside the Ferry Terminal. Other MDSers will meet up at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal in lower Manhattan (Whitehall/South Ferry). Assembling at the Information Desk inside the SI Ferry Terminal, the protesters will flier from 3 to 7 pm as well.
Richie Marini of Staten Island MDS (Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)
“This is our port and our home and we will not allow the Bush administration to take control of it to supply their illegal war,” said Richard Marini, an organizer with the Staten Island chapter of Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS).
To conclude the observance of the Moratorium, protesters will hold a candlelight vigil on the steps of Staten Island’s Borough Hall, directly across Richmond Terrace from the Ferry Terminal, from 7 to 8 pm. All three events are open to the public.
Elaine Brower, a Military Mom from Staten Island (Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)
“Learning that right here in our own small community backyard the Department of Defense had contracted with the New York City Terminals to militarize our port at Howland Hook, has me completely outraged and upset. Staten Island is my hometown, and I was always so pleased that I could have a bit of peace in this big City. But the war profiteers have come home to roost and we are not going to let them remain unnoticed any longer,” said Elaine Brower, of Military Families Speak Out (MFSO). Brower’s son James, a Marine, has already served one tour in Afghanistan and another in Iraq. He is up for re-deployment in 2008.