Anti-war activists will stage a rally today in Philadelphia to protest the Army Experience Center at the Franklin Mills Mall - and GamePolitics will be on hand to provide live coverage.
The $12 million experimental recruitment facility, equipped with PCs, Xbox 360s and violent games, is the first of its kind. While the Army hopes that the AEC's video games, sofas and rock music will attract potential recruits, anti-war groups charge that the Army is using video games to militarize youth.
Today's protest is scheduled to begin with a 1:00 P.M. rally at a nearby church. Speakers will include veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as Celeste Zappala of Gold Star Families for Peace and a former State Department official, Col. Anne Wright.
After the speeches, organizers say that several hundred bullhorn-equipped and sign-carrying protesters will march from the church to the mall, which is about a mile away. Along the way the protesters will unfurl a 12-foot banner reading:
War is Not a Game, Shut Down the Army Experience Center
Upon arrival at the mall, the protesters will attempt to serve a "criminal complaint" on the Army Experience Center and the company which owns the mall. It is likely, however, that they will be denied access.
The protesters have apparently revised their original, potentially chaotic plan which, as GamePolitics reported in March, called for them to pose as mall shoppers and then descend upon the AEC.
GamePolitics will have full coverage of this unprecedented video game protest. I will provide a live Twitter feed as the event unfolds. I will also be taking plenty of photos and video and will post a recap after the event.
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UPDATE: Pic at left shows the protesters arrving at the mall.