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Military police arrest 11 protesters for trespassing at Benning

Monday, November 19th 2007

Brian Mc Dearmon, Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

leven protesters are accused of crossing onto Fort Benning on Sunday during demonstrations aimed at shutting down the controversial training facility formerly known as the School of the Americas.

Ten of those protesters were arrested by military police and charged with criminal trespass for stepping onto post through a hole in a fence at the construction site of the National Infantry Museum off South Lumpkin Road, said Fort Benning spokeswoman Monica Manganaro. They include:

• Teri Lynn Rainelli, 25, Canton, Ohio

• Augustine Joseph Roddy, 43, Chicago

• Diane Lopez Hughes, 58, Springfield, Ill

• Arthur Richard Landis, 74, Perkasie, Pa

• Ozone Bhaguan, 33, Duluth, Minn.

• Leanne Christine Clausen, 29, Chicago

• Edwin Ross Lewinton, 76, Newark, N.J.

• Chris Alan Lieberman, 54, Albuquerque, N.M.

• Joan Cecile Anderson, 65, Casper, Wyo.

• Stephen Peter Schweitzer, 45, Binghamton, N.Y.

Manganaro said the protesters were apprehended about 10:10 a.m. by military police on Fort Benning Road, about a quarter of a mile from where they entered.

Another individual, Carna Michell Yipe, 44, of Argonia, Kan., crossed onto post around 1 p.m. by tossing a sweater on barbed wire and climbing the fence at the Stone Gate entrance on Fort Benning Drive, Manganaro said.

All have been charged by the U.S. Attorney's Office with criminal trespassing, and were released on either $500 or $1,000 bond. They are scheduled to appear in court in January.

At last year's protest, 16 people trespassed onto Fort Benning.

SOA protest organizer Eric LeCompte said those who cross onto Fort Benning make the decision long before they get to Columbus. He said they go through a lengthy process of talking to attorneys and to people who already have done prison time for stepping onto post about the implications of what they want to do.

Four others were arrested Sunday by Columbus Police and charged with misdemeanor obstruction of a police officer, said Capt. J.D. Hawk. One crossed a police line and the others didn't clear away when asked.

"Three of them were repeatedly and repeatedly and repeatedly told to clear the access way, and they wouldn't get out of the way and we had no choice," Hawk said.

All four made bond Sunday, the captain added.

LeCompte said although his organization doesn't call on people to cross onto Fort Benning, he called their civil disobedience a vital part of the movement, saying they have brought attention to the cause.

"People started to find out about the school because they started to ask, 'Well, why has this 91-year-old nun been sentenced to six months in prison?' " LeCompte said.

"Those people in the early years who began to cross, and those who continue to cross, allow us to build a movement that goes right into the mainstream," he said.

 

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