Somalis protest US banks' halt of money transfers

December 30, 2011 - 5:20 PM

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Hundreds of Minnesota Somalis are rallying to express frustration over the closing of businesses they once used to send money back to Somalia.

Many held signs Friday with pictures of starving children and messages blaming banks for ending transfers of money from the U.S. to the famine-stricken East African country.

Sunrise Community Banks has handled most of the transactions. But it is stopping the transfers Friday because it said it risked violating rules intended to fight the financing of terrorist groups.

The U.S. Treasury says Somalis have other solutions. But community leaders and money-transfer business owners say those solutions aren't practical.

Many Somalis at the Minneapolis rally say their relatives in Somalia and refugee camps rely on monthly payments for survival.