Over 50 arrested in Massive Nonviolent Funeral Procession Commemorating Victims of School of the Americas' Grads Print
Columbus, GA. Early Sunday afternoon military police arrested over 50 people who entered Ft. Benning after participating in SOA Watch's annual funeral procession at the main entrance of the base. Nearly ten thousand people from all over the country participated in today’s demonstration.

Ft. Benning is a U.S. Army infantry-training base. It hosts the School of Americas (recently renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation). Since 1946, SOA/WHISC has trained tens of thousands of Latin American soldiers in counter-insurgency tactics.

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

Mourners, shrouded in black and carrying coffins, led the procession of thousands bearing white crosses inscribed with names of victims. Today’s procession was SOA Watch’s 12th annual commemoration of the massacre of six Jesuit priests, as well as thousands of others killed in Latin America by SOA graduates.

Of the over 8,000 who were took part in last November’s commemoration, over 20 are now serving six-month sentences in federal prison for trespass. Over the years, 70 SOA Watch activists have cumulatively served 40 years in prison.