Jailed Protesters Fast to Close Down Terrorist School Print
Columbus, GA. Nonviolent non-cooperation, long used by the civil rights and peace movements, is now being used in the war on terrorism. Twenty-nine peaceful activists are fasting for reduced sentences following a massive protest to close the School of the Americas, Sunday. They appeared before Muscogee County Municipal Judge Haywood Turner at 2PM, Monday.

Nineteen handcuffed women requested from the court a moment of silence before arraignment. Judge Turner came down from the bench to speak directly to the protestors. They collectively demanded that all defendants' charges be reduced to an infraction. No plea bargain was reached. Their case was continued to 3:30PM, Tuesday.

Sunday, demonstrators erected a "global village" at the entrance to Ft. Benning - home of the School of the Americas. Ten thousand people demanded a closure of the "terrorist training camp in our backyard."

"Jane O. Doe", one of the defendants, told Columbus Mayor Bobby Peters, "This terrorist training camp is a problem for everyone, including the City of Columbus." He replied, "You follow your conscience, we'll follow the law."

Military and Columbus City police arrested over a hundred demonstrators. The 29 fasting protesters are among 31 charged with unlawful assembly, obstructing police, and blocking a road. Fourteen protesters face federal charges of trespassing and resisting arrest, in separate proceedings.

Human rights organizations have linked hundreds of SOA grads to widespread terrorism - civilian-targeted torture, disappearance and killing. SOA-trained soldiers have targeted civilians in Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia and elsewhere in Latin America.

SOA Watch, founded in 1990, is a national, grassroots, faith and conscience- based group committed to nonviolence. We have offices in Columbus, GA, Washington, DC and chapters in communities and on campuses around the country. Its goal is to expose and close SOA/WHISC