by Sarah Martin
SAINT PAUL, MN – More than 50 people attended a press conference here to stand in solidarity with Carlos Montes, July 6, at the weekly Lake Street/Marshall Avenue Bridge Peace Vigil. Marie Braun, organizer of the weekly actions on the bridge that spans the Mississippi River, said, “We are focusing today on opposition to the FBI raids and ongoing investigation of peace activists here and around the country and we stand in solidarity with them and Carlos Montes.”
Earlier in the day, Montes pleaded not guilty to six felony gun permit charges in a Los Angeles County courtroom packed with his supporters and friends.
Meredith Aby, who was raided and subpoenaed by the FBI on Sept. 24, 2010, spoke for the Anti-War Committee. Their office was also raided and Montes’ name was on the search warrant. Aby said, “He is being targeted not because he has committed a crime but because of his activism with the movement here in the Twin Cities.” Montes helped organize the marches on the Republican National Convention in Saint Paul in 2008. “I can’t be silent as he defends himself against trumped up criminal charges. He has been an important voice for building unity between the anti-war movement and the immigrant rights movement and now we will unite in standing behind him,” she said.
“The documents Carlos received at his last court appearance show that the FBI prompted the L.A. sheriff raid,” Aby reported.
Chris Getowicz, who spoke for the University of Minnesota chapter of the Students for a Democratic Society said, “Carlos has continued to be a part of multiple generations of struggle in the Chicano community for civil rights, for immigrant rights and in the antiwar movement. He has been an inspiration to our work and has always encouraged us in our struggles, offering us the courage to fight as he has.”
The Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee’s spokesperson, Niger, closed the rally with the classic chant: "¡El pueblo unido, jamás será vencido!"
People were asked to continue to call Attorney General Holder at 202-514-2001 and tell him to drop the charges against Montes and stop the FBI raids and Grand Jury repression of anti-war and international solidarity activists.
Montes’ next court date is August 12.