- February 28, 2006. Holding a banner that read, "GOD FORGIVE
AMERICA" seven peace activists were arrested yesterday in
front of the White House, in a civil disobedience protest against
the war in Iraq.
by U.S. Park Police were Brian Terrell, Ed Bloomer, and Elton
Davis, all from Catholic Worker communities in the Des Moines,
Iowa area; David Goodner, University of Iowa student; Eileen Hansen,
a Catholic Worker from the Winona, Minnesota; Jeff Leys, co-coordinator
of Voices for Creative Nonviolence (VCNV); and Bernie Meyer, a
retired social services worker from Olympia, Washington.
were charged with the federal misdemeanor of demonstrating without
a permit, fined seventy-five dollars, and released yesterday evening.
The action was part of VCNV's
"Winter of our Discontent" demonstratons in the month
leading up to the third anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq
on March 20.
of Our Discontent" protesters that were arrested in civil disobedience
action at the White House 2/27/06. From left: Elton Davis, Bernie
Meyer, Ed Bloomer, Eileen Hansen, a supporter who did not get
arrested (holding banner on left), David Goodner, Brian Terrell
and Jeff Leys.
Terrell organized the group of 15 from Iowa that included students
from Loras College, a hospital worker, and a farmer from Missouri
who drove 140 miles to Des Moines to join them.
not now, when?" Terrell replied when asked why they drove
20 hours overnight to get arrested in the nation's capital. "Some
people consider civil disobedience an extreme measure for extreme
times. If these aren't extreme times I don't know what are."
Iowa farmer and Catholic Worker added, "We came here to use
two complementary methods to protest this war. Some of our group
are visiting members of Congress, and some are putting our bodies
on the line."
the 25-year-old Iowa Hawkeye, said his reason was "a deep
concern for the plight of the world. I worry where the world is
heading when I think of global warming and war. I believe the
capitalist model of globalization is the root cause of the institutional
problems facing us, and governments aren't going to solve those
problems, individuals are."
58, an Army draftee who served from 1966-68, is also a member
of Veterans For Peace.
He said he became a Catholic Worker in 1983 when he was active
in the Nuclear Freeze movement to stop the spread of atomic weapons,
because he agreed with the Worker's approach. "They say if
you see something that ain't right, fix it. I see half the world
starving without a crust of bread while are resources are going
to wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. This is the right thing to do
and it's good to show your colors."
held by "Winter of Our
Discontent" activists at White House
civil disobedience action 2/27/06.
group demonstrated on the sidewalk in front of the White House
fence, walking slowly with placards and banners for about 30 minutes.
The seven who were arrested took their signs to the portion of
the fence ruled off-limits to protests where they stood, attracting
the attention of Park Police who warned them they risked arrest.
refused to move, police called in a large team to make the arrests
which included six officers on motorcycles, one on horseback,
and over a dozen in patrol cars and unmarked vehicles including
several command officers, with four Secret Service officers observing.
roped off a large, square area in front of the protesters, a lieutenant,
speaking through a patrol car loudspeaker, warned the seven that
"You must leave the enclosed portion of the White House sidewalk.
All those not leaving will be arrested." Three warnings later,
officers approached the activists and began handcuffing and searching
them one at a time. To cheers from supporters and under the eye
of dozens of tourists, the arrestees were lead into a large police
wagon and taken away. The whole operation took about 90 minutes.
Leys said they had been processed, fined, and released later in
the day around 5:00 pm.
union representative from Milwaukee and three others are participating
in a 34-day, liquids-only fast and vigil at the Capitol as part
of the Winter of Our Discontent. He noted the fasters are observing
the period between February 15, 2003, when millions of people
around the world protested the likely U.S. invasion of Iraq, and
the date of the invasion, March 20. He added that VCNV plans additional
protests in Washington and elsewhere in the country before March
Note: Mike Ferner
traveled to Iraq with "Voices" just prior to the U.S. invasion
and again a year later. His book, Inside the Red Zone: A Veteran
For Peace Reports from Iraq (Praeger) is due out in August.
Click here: There Are Lives In The
Balance, by Mike Ferner