Protest Against Video Game Army Recruiting Ends in Arrests

Illustration for article titled Protest Against Video Game Army Recruiting Ends in Arrests

Yesterday in Philadelphia, a crowd of 100 marched on a mall demanding the shutdown of the "U.S. Army Experience" - a video-game based recruiting station. Seven were arrested for cosplaying Shyguys wearing masks.


GamePolitics tweeted the showdown, which began back in March with ideas of gathering in the mall as ordinary shoppers and then descending on the recruit station, which uses high end gaming PCs and consoles to appeal to potential recruits. Some among those opposed to current U.S. military actions finds that kind of appeal distasteful, misleading about actual military life and obligations, and trivializing of real war.

So, the demonstrators rethought their plan and, with the cooperation of the Philadelphia police, instead chose to march on the mall straight up, and were even let in. But here's the thing about demonstrations - the cops really don't like masks. Local ordinances usually outlaw them in these settings. So seven people wearing them refused police orders to disperse and were arrested, which was likely their intent.

The demonstration was bookended by anti-war speeches and songs, sprinkled with chanting and such throughout. Counterprotesters with a speaker system showed up to grief the antiwar marchers, apparently with some success. In the end, they got to make their point and act on their conscience, but the U.S. Army Experience is still up and running.

GamePolitics' tweet rundown gives an excellent narrative of all that happened. There's also video here.

Covering a Video Game Protest March via Twitter [GamePolitics. Pic also from GP.]



I sorta thought this stifling of freedom of speech would end under President Obama. That's part of the reason I voted for him (the the other part is simply due to the fact that I'm not an idiot). I guess I shouldn't have expected major change. Obama still, sadly, answers to the massively paranoid and fascist CIA and FBI. The paranoid part of me wants to scream, "Safety before all else!" The smarter part of me wants to yell, "Freedom of speech and expression comes first, beyond ALL else!"