Victory: Peace Groups Permanently Shut Down Army Experience Center in Philadelphia
Common Dreams and Code Pink
Army announcement made just days before planned protest. Several large demonstrations, non-violent civil resistance and regular vigils contributed to its demise.
June 11 - Franklin Mills Mall, Philadelphia, PA - A coalition of thirty peace groups has proven triumphant in their goal of forever shutting down the “Army Experience Center” in a suburban shopping mall in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported today that the Army plans to permanently close the facility.
After almost two years of glorifying the “Army experience” and U.S. wars through video and war games, the Army Experience Center at Franklin Mills Malls announced it will shut down on July 31, 2010. The $13 million, 14,500 square foot Army Experience Center at Franklin Mills Mall boasts dozens of video game computers and X-Box video game consoles with various interactive, military-style shooting games. The facility has sophisticated Apache helicopter and Humvee simulators that allow teens to simulate the killing of Arabs and Afghans. Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Rob Watson compared the Army Experience Center to "a heavy dose of candy cigarettes."
Dozens of local and national peace groups joined the “Shut Down the Army Experience Center” effort in January 2009, soon after the heavily marketed Center got national press coverage. The mall was the site of several protests of hundreds of people, with more than a dozen arrests.
Six of those arrested were acquitted by a Philadelphia trial judge on May 24, 2010, and prior to that at a trial last year, six arrested were also acquitted.
Elaine Brower, one of those arrested twice, whose son joined the Marines at age 17 and served three tours in Afghanistan & Iraq, became a vocal opponent of the AEC. She said today, “This is a victory for the entire peace and anti-war movement. The team work and coalition building that was accomplished led to our success. We were relentless in our struggle to shut this center down, and we did it strategically. As they say, a people united will never be defeated!”
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