Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Anemic anti-Blackwater turnout in San Diego

Opposition to Blackwater's plan to build a training facility in San Diego County, California, seems much weaker than expected.

A meager 200 activists turned out over the weekend to protest Blackwater's planned facility in San Diego California, despite the presence of a local congressman, a gaggle of reporters, and international controversy that makes the company a hot issue.

Congressman Bob Filner (D-CA), awaiting trial for assault and battery against a woman in a Washington-area airport, pledged to stop the security provider. “Blackwater is a black mark on American democracy.”

The activists were organized by a group that was founded after 9/11 to oppose the military hunt for al Qaeda.
When the group marched to the gate of the proposed training site, a Blackwater official came to speak with the marchers and answer their questions. He told the San Diego Union-Tribune that we welcomed the attention. "“I think it's doing us good instead of harm,” he said. “This is a political circus.”

The local 9-person planning board voted unanimously last year to approve the Blackwater site. Protesters have organized a recall vote for a December ballot.

One local anti-Blackwater activist says that he expects the town of Potrero to go ahead and approve the company's plans to build the facility. "Realistically, it looks like Blackwater will be given the okay to come to Potrero by the Board of Supervisors," he says in an article posted on an Italian website that supported Saddam Hussein. "However, if the pressure from the public grows enough, even they may have to back down and consider the Blackwater move a political liability."

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