<b>Hundreds Illegally Arrested at Ground Zero</b> Print
New York, NY ? Over 200 peaceful activists were illegally arrested today
after gathering at 3PM at Ground Zero. Calling for an end to current US
military intervention and the closure of the School of the Americas
(renamed Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation), a group
of over 2000 people had planned to walk in a solemn two by two procession
to the Republican National Convention at Madison Square Garden. Instead,
police surrounded a large part of the group and refused to allow any of
those surrounded to leave. Those surrounded were arrested despite
following police instructions to walk two by two on the sidewalk.

Those who were not surrounded continued to walk two by two toward Madison
Square Garden, site of the RNC. At 7PM they arrived at the intersection
of 28th and Broadway, where 54 people laid down in the intersection in a
?die-in?, to portray the death and suffering caused by the invasion of
Iraq and at the hands of SOA-trained soldiers. They effectively shut down
the intersection.

The ?die-in? participants wore shirts and held signs that connected the
victims of torture at Abu Graib to the history of torture in Latin America
at the hands of SOA-trained soldiers. ?The Bush administration claims
it?s bringing democracy to Iraq. Past administrations, while supporting
death squads, made the same claims about Latin America,? said SOA Watch
activist Tom Mahedy, who is presently being arrested in the ?die-in?.

The School of the Americas, recently renamed the Western Hemisphere
Institute for Security Cooperation or WHINSEC, is a military training
school for Latin American security forces located at Fort Benning,
Georgia. The school, funded by US taxpayer money, has trained over 60,000
Latin Americans in such courses as counter-insurgency, sniper training,
psychological warfare and interrogation techniques. Graduates of the
school have been consistently linked to human rights violations across the
Americas.

SOA Watch has been 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 today during the
RNC. 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.

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