Protest at the Army Experience Center  

The Iraq Veterans Against the War, the Veterans for Peace and the Delaware Valley Veterans for America all joined forces to protest the Army Experience Center, the hands-on, multimedia exhibit designed to sell war to the young as a fun, bloodless, mess-free game.

assembly point
St. Lukes Church, where we assembled at.

outside signs
The United Church of Christ and DelValVets working together. OpEd News takes a look at the AEC:

The average military recruiting facility is about 800-1200 square feet and it's pretty much an open office with some desks. The Army Experience Center is a 14,000 square foot mini-version of Disney world, with simulation rooms and a massive collection of all sizes of video screens connected to war video games. 

Yeah, that's a "sort-of" American flag Robert is holding. Sandy, another veteran, contributes photos of the event.

A simple fact that needs to be stated and re-stated.

last-minute speeches
Speeches before we headed off. We had some counter-protesters across the street who were trying to drown us out. That worked on the quieter speakers, but not on the really assertive ones.

A reporter questions one of our people as the march continues. It was about a mile between the church and the AEC.

We had a complaint from a commenter on PhillyIMC who basically thinks that these efforts are misdirected and that we should be paying attention to problems closer to home. The AEC is a nationally-organized and funded and directed effort to assist US efforts to involve itself in areas where we're getting lots of our kids killed and where we're really not helping the people of those other lands (Iraqi casualties since the March 2003 invasion are over 1.3 million. The displaced, both internally and scattered to other lands, is 4.2 million). What is the problem in Philadelphia's poor neighborhoods? It's complex, scattered and diffuse. It's not at all clear what the exact problems are and even less clear what the solutions are. The AEC is a clear and specific target where our efforts can have a discernable impact in helping humanity in general, not just in our own neighborhoods.

head of march
Bill Perry of the DVVFA contributes a photoessay on the march, identifying a number of the specific people that took part in the march and actions afterwards.

The mall that housed the AEC.

Got pretty loud as we demonstrated right outside the AEC. Elaine Brower describes the scene inside:

People stopped to listen, and really couldn’t believe what was happening.  I myself, was part of a group of protesters who donned death masks and the names of fallen soldiers and stood directly in front of the AEC, which was at that point surrounded by police. 

But that didn’t stop us from demanding that it be closed and they should cease and desist corrupting our youth.   Those of us in death masks stood silently by and watched the rest of the group shouting at the recruiters.  “Stop stealing our kids” “No wars for empire”, “SHAME ON YOU!” to the endless pounding of drums.

protesters in masks
Most of us went away when the police started threatening to break us all up, but some stayed and did a few hours in jail.