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School of Americas NYC Arrestees Update

nolympics writes:

"SOA Watch Protesters Arrested in NYC"

By the end of Tuesday, August 31, over 350 people were arrested for participation in a march and die-in protesting military training at the SOA/WHINSEC(*) and the war and occupation in Iraq.  Over 300 of the arrests were made within one block of the Ground Zero starting point of the peaceful march.  Among those illegally arrested was SOA Watch’s Communications Coordinator, Christy Pardew. Despite the arrests, the protesters re-organized, arrived at the intended destination — one block away from Madison Square Garden, the site of the convention — and staged a die-in to portray the death and suffering caused by the invasion of Iraq and at the hands of SOA-trained soldiers.As of September 1st, those arrested are still being held at a makeshift
detention center, Pier 57 — a three-story, block long “holding pen,”
formerly a bus repair depot — with a 1,000 person capacity.  In the last
week and a half, over 1,700 protesters have been arrested.

SOA Watch worked in conjunction with the War Resisters League, the A31
Action Coalition and other organizations to plan a full day of nonviolent
direct actions throughout New York City during the Republican National
Convention (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.

Read the SOA Watch Press release at

Listen to today’s Democracy Now coverage of the day of protest that resulted
in over 950 arrests, by tuning into your local radio broadcast time, or by
downloading it from http://www.democracynow.org/. Click on “Listen/Watch
entire show.” The coverage includes an interview with SOA Watch Events and
Outreach Coordinator, Eric LeCompte.  The segment featuring the SOA Watch
action begins at 13 minutes.

For a web stream video that includes footage of the die-in and an interview
with Eric LeCompte, go to www.cbsnews.com and enter “Making Themselves

  Heard” in the search box.

For more on law enforcement’s aggressive response to protestors, visit:


!! Forward this email and spread the word about the movement to close the

!!  Call your Representative in Congress and tell them to support HR 1258,
the current legislation calling for the closure and investigation of the
SOA/WHINSEC.  Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121.  For more information
(including a list of current co-sponsors), visit:

!! Come to the annual non-violent vigil and direct action at the gates of
Fort Benning, GA, November 19-21.  For more information (including an
organizing packet), visit: http://www.soaw.org/new/article.php?id=763

(*) The School of the Americas (SOA), recently renamed the Western
Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (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

        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."