Nonviolent Direct Action in New York to Call for the Closure of the SOA Print
PRESS CONFERENCE: Judson Memorial Church, 241 Thompson St., New York City
Wednesday, August 25, 2004 at 11 am

New York, NY - School of the Americas Watch (SOA Watch) will join thousands in the streets of New York on Tuesday, August 31 to engage in creative, nonviolent civil disobedience actions taking place throughout the city. SOA Watch activists?including families, veterans, religious workers, students and community organizers?will participate in marches, die-ins and funeral processions to illustrate that the human rights abuses suffered at the hands of graduates of the US Army?s School of the Americas are part of a larger pattern of destruction resulting from the Bush administration?s foreign policy.

At 3pm on Tuesday, demonstrators wearing white will converge on Ground Zero. At 4 pm, they will march in a solemn funeral procession to Madison Square Garden, site of the Republican National Convention. By 7pm, they will reach Madison Square Garden, where they will enact a die-in commemorating the countless worldwide victims of war, repression and unjust economic policies.

The School of the Americas (SOA), recently renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation or WHINSEC, is a military training school located at Fort Benning, Georgia, where over 60,000 Latin American soldiers have been trained in courses including counterinsurgency, sniper training, psychological warfare and interrogation techniques. Graduates of the school have been consistently linked to human rights violations and to the suppression of popular movements in Central and South America.

SOA Watch is working in conjunction with the War Resisters League, the A31 Action Coalition and other organizations in planning for a full day of nonviolent direct actions throughout New York City on Tuesday, August 31. Nonviolent direct action has been a key element in publicly exposing the connections between training at the SOA/WHINSEC and human rights abuses across Latin America.

SOA Watch is a nonviolent grassroots movement that works through creative protest and resistance, legislative and media work to stand in solidarity with the people of Latin America, to close the SOA/WHINSEC and to change oppressive U.S. foreign policy that institutions like the SOA represent.